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Vifor Pharma in US$100m licence deal with Cara Therapeutics

Vifor Pharma and Cara Therapeutics have signed a US license agreement for Korsuva to treat dialysis patients with pruritus.

Under the licence deal with the US company Cara Therapeutics Inc., Swiss Vifor Pharma has acquired the US commercialisation rights for intravenous difelikefalin, a treatment of chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus (CKD-aP) that is given in 66% non-Fresenius Medical Care clinics. According to the deal, Cara with receive 60% of sales profits, while Vifor Pharma will gain 40% of the US profits. With the deal Vifor expands its presence in the US market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cara will receive an upfront payment of US$100m in cash and an equity investment of US$50m. Futhermore, Cara could gain up to US-$290m in milestones with an additional equity investment upon market approval.

Moderate to severe haemodialysis-associated pruritus is a debilitating condition that impacts up to 40% of dialysis patients around the world and for which there is currently no approved treatment in the US or Europe. In May 2018, Cara Therapeutics and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (VFMCRP) signed an initial agreement that granted the rights to develop and commercialise intravenous Korsuva, which is aimed at filling the medical gap, for the treatment of chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus (CKD-aP) in hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients worldwide, excluding the US, Japan and South Korea. At that time, Cara retained full development and commercialisation rights f for the treatment of CKD-aP in the US except in the dialysis clinics of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), where VFMCRP and Cara were to promote intravenous Korsuva under a profit-sharing arrangement based on net FMCNA clinic sales recorded by Cara.