The Unmet Need

We strive to deliver a more effective and better-tolerated treatments for large and underserved patient populations. Our lead product candidate, KarXT, is currently under development as an investigational treatment for schizophrenia and dementia-related psychosis (DRP).

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic, serious and often disabling brain disorder affecting how a person thinks, feels and behaves.

Symptoms of schizophrenia generally fall into three categories: positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms typically include hallucinations, delusions and suspiciousness. People may also experience negative symptoms, such as apathy, emotional withdrawal, and lack of social interest, as well as cognitive symptoms, including problems in attention, concentration and memory.

Schizophrenia affected an estimated 2.7 million Americans, or approximately 0.5% to 1.0% of the U.S. population, in 2017. People with schizophrenia have a 10 to 15-year reduction in life expectancy compared to the general population. Those living with schizophrenia often struggle to meet expected developmental adult milestones such as sustaining meaningful interpersonal relationships, maintaining employment and live independently.

Antipsychotic medicines have evolved since they were first developed back in the 1950s, however, much work needs to be done. Most patients with schizophrenia do not fully respond to their current medication regimen. Even for psychotic symptoms, the specific area where atypical antipsychotics seem to work the best, a substantial portion of patients continue to experience distressing or impairing psychotic symptoms. Atypical antipsychotics are often ineffective for the treatment of negative and cognitive symptoms.

Current antipsychotics have modest efficacy in many patients and significant side effects, including problems with normal movements, sedation or lethargy, and weight gain, limiting their utility. Therefore, there remains a substantial need for a new therapeutic with a novel mechanism of action, an improved efficacy and side effect profile that effectively treats positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of the disorder.

Dementia-related Psychosis

Dementia is characterized by the loss of cognitive functioning – including thinking, remembering and reasoning – and behavioral abilities to an extent that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities. 

Dementia is caused by a variety of different diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Dementia affects more than 8 million people in the U.S. Despite the prevalence, only 40% of those affected are diagnosed, with 1.2 million experiencing symptoms of psychosis.

While diagnostic criteria for dementia mostly focus on the associated cognitive deficits, it is often the psychotic and behavioral symptoms that are most troublesome for caregivers and lead to poor quality of life for patients. There are limited treatment options for psychosis in patients with dementia. Antipsychotics are limited in utility as increased morbidity and mortality has been observed in the use in the elderly population.