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Acorda Therapeutics rises on Ampyra study

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Acorda Therapeutics Inc. jumped Monday after the company said that its drug Ampyra helped stroke patients recover their ability to walk in a mid-stage clinical trial.

Acorda said patients who took Ampyra recovered were able to walk faster and had an easier time performing daily tasks. The trial involved 83 patients who had an ischemic stroke at least six months earlier, and who still had walking problems. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked.

Acorda stock climbed $2.68, or 8.5 percent, to $34.30 in midday trading after rising as high as $35.75 earlier in the session, its highest level since June 2010.

The company said it is still evaluating results from the study. The main goal of the trial was to measure Ampyra's safety and side effects in stroke patients, and the most common side effects included dizziness, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, and joint pain.

Ampyra is used to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis. Acorda markets the drug in the U.S., and Biogen Idec Inc. sells it as Fampyra in other countries. Biogen makes royalty payments to Acorda on those sales. Acorda is also studying Ampyra as a treatment for cerebral palsy.

The Ardsley, N.Y., company gets almost 90 percent of its revenue from Ampyra, and the percentage is higher if Fampyra royalties are included. Acorda also makes a drug called Zanaflex to treat muscle spasms or muscle rigidity and is developing a nasal spray version of Valium, or diazepam, a drug that is used to treat anxiety and seizures.