Boston-based biotech Karuna Therapeutics (KRTX) said Monday that a novel combination pill achieved the main goal of a mid-stage clinical trial by reducing the acute psychosis and related symptoms experienced by patients with schizophrenia.
The Karuna drug, called KarXT, works by targeting muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Current antipsychotics — which mostly block dopamine receptors — have become blockbuster schizophrenia medicines despite causing troubling side effects like weight gain and somnolence.
“The current crop of schizophrenia medicines make patients feel crappy, and as a result, they don’t take them very long,” said Karuna CEO Steve Paul. “We’re very pleased with the positive efficacy and tolerability from the KarXT study. If we can replicate these data in larger, Phase 3 studies, we could be the first, innovative treatment for schizophrenia in many years.”