Toray Industries, Inc. (Toray), Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) and Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Torii) announced that the companies have reached an agreement to jointly develop and market TRK-820, a novel selective kappa opioid receptor agonist discovered by Toray's Pharmaceutical Research Laboratory, for treating uremic pruritus in hemodialysis patients in Japan.
Hemodialysis-related uremic pruritus is a condition that causes systemic and severe itching, without inflammation, on the skin and its cause has not yet been clearly elucidated. Hemodialysis patients with uremic pruritus suffer lack of sleep due to severe itching, which not only deteriorates their quality of life (QOL) but also is one of the causes of worsening of systemic condition. It is known that this type of itching is not relieved by conventional antipruritic drugs such as antihistamine agents, and the development of effective medicines has long been awaited.
TRK-820 is a compound that aims to treat uremic pruritus in patients on hemodialysis. This compound is a selective kappa opioid receptor agonist and is expected to be effective with a novel mechanism in treating itching that is resistant to existing treatments such as antihistamine agents.
The drug has entered the final phase of its clinical trials before application in Japan and further development would be jointly carried out by Toray and the JT group, with marketing to be handled by Torii.