Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

January 24, 2024

Stamford-based Cara Therapeutics to lay off 50% of employees under restructuring

Contributed Cara Therapeutics is based at 400 Atlantic St. in Stamford.

A small biopharmaceutical company based in Stamford announced that it will lay off 50% of its employees as it seeks to reduce operating expenses, while devoting more resources for clinical trials of a drug it has developed for a common and hard-to-treat neuropathic disorder.

Cara Therapeutics, which has about 84 employees, said it is prioritizing development of oral difelikefalin as a treatment for notalgia paresthetica (NP), a disorder that can cause episodic itching or pain on a small patch of the skin on the mid-back area, especially in older women.

There are currently no Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies to treat NP, leaving a “significant unmet need,” according to the announcement.

“We are sharpening our clinical focus on the rapidly progressing Phase 2/3 study in NP, which we believe is the therapeutic indication with the greatest commercial potential for oral difelikefalin,” said Christopher Posner, president and CEO of Cara.

As the company shifts its focus, Posner said it will discontinue work on a Phase 3 program in advanced chronic kidney disease.

He said the changes will extend the company’s cash runway into 2026, allowing it to complete the notalgia paresthetica clinical program.

Also, the company announced the departure of its chief scientific officer, Frédérique Menzaghi, effective Feb. 2.

“Unfortunately, as a result of the difficult decision to restructure the company, many of our talented team members will depart the organization,” Posner said. “I am deeply grateful for their dedicated service and support of our mission.”

Cara, a publicly traded company, has annual revenue of about $41 million. The company said it ended 2023 with about $101 million in cash.
There are an estimated 650,000 patients in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with notalgia paresthetica and may be eligible for treatment, the announcement states.

In 2007, Connecticut Innovations provided Cara with a $4 million loan to help it move from Tarrytown, N.Y., to its former laboratory space in Shelton, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

In 2011, Cara received $3 million from a consortium of investors that included Connecticut Innovations, and in 2013, it raised nearly $39 million in venture funding, according to the Hartford Business Journal.

In 2019, the company was included on Marcum’s Tech Top 40 list, which recognizes the fastest-growing technology companies in Connecticut with at least $3 million in annual revenue and a four-year record of growth.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF