Acorda Expands Pipeline

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Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (ACOR) recently added two neuropathic pain management assets to its portfolio. The company acquired these assets, Qutenza and NP-1998 (formerly known as NGX-1998), from NeurogesX, Inc. (NGSX).

Financial and Other Details

Acorda made a payment of about $8 million in return for the development and commercialization rights for Qutenza and NP-1998 in the US, Canada, Latin America and certain other territories. Acorda may pay up to another $5 million on the achievement of NP-1998 related regulatory and sales milestones.

Exclusive commercialization rights for Qutenza in the European Economic Area (EEA), certain countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa lie with Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., the European subsidiary of Astellas Pharma, Inc. (ALPMY). Astellas may also exercise an option to develop NP-1998 in the above-mentioned territories.

While Qutenza is approved in the US for the management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia, NP-1998 is being evaluated for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

Qutenza, which was approved in the US in 2010, posted sales of $2.6 million in 2011. NeurogesX stopped promoting the product actively from Mar 2012. Acorda intends to use its existing commercial organization, including its specialty neurology sales force of about 100 sales reps, for promoting Qutenza.

Qutenza is also being evaluated as a treatment of pain associated with painful diabetic neuropathy by Astellas. It is currently in phase III development for this indication and Acorda has the right to review data from this study. Astellas and Acorda have the option to collaborate and/or split costs associated with future studies.

We are encouraged by Acorda’s efforts to expand its product portfolio and pipeline. The company has been looking towards in-licensing deals and acquisitions to expand its pipeline. In Dec 2012, Acorda acquired Neuronex and added diazepam nasal spray (management of seizure in certain epilepsy patients) to its pipeline.

Acorda currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). At present, Biogen Idec (BIIB) looks well-positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 

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