Acorda scrambles to survive after Ampyra loss
- Acorda Therapeutics announced Wednesday morning that it's reducing its headcount by 20%, or about 100 employees, in an effort to save about $21 million.
- The move to restructure comes days after a court invalidated three of the four key patents related to its top-selling drug Ampyra (dalfampridine).
- The biotech said it will refocus its resources on its two late-stage clinical programs, CVT-301 and tozadenant.
The news of restructuring from Acorda should not come as a surprise to investors. A U.S. District Court invalidated key patents related to the multiple sclerosis walking drug Ampyra, which makes up nearly 95% of Acorda's revenues.
The biotech was built around Ampyra and for a long time, was pursuing other indications for the drug as a life cycle management strategy. Yet, in November 2016, Ampyra failed as a therapy to help people walk post-stroke. Acorda was forced to discontinue development and took a hit to its lead program.
For now, Acorda says it will push to get as many patients as possible on the drug before the final Ampyra patent expires in July 2018 and potential generics flood the market. The company said last week tht it would appeal the court decision.
In recent years, the biotech has been trying to diversify its pipeline away from its dependence on Ampyra. In January 2016, Acorda paid $363 million to pick up a late-stage Parkinson's disease drug through its acquisition of Sweden's Biotie. Earlier this year, CVT-301 showed statistically significant improvement in motor function over placebo in Parkinson's patients. The drug is moving rapidly toward a filing with the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected at the end of the second quarter in the U.S. and by the end of the year in the EU.
- Acorda Therapeutics Statement
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