After hinting for some time that it's been shopping for a mid-stage product, Acorda this morning unveiled a $35 million licensing pact with Medtronic for a new therapy to treat neurological trauma patients. Acorda is paying a modest $3 million upfront and promising up to $32 million more on a treatment that could improve the locomotor and cognitive function of patients suffering from spinal cord or brain injury.
"The acquisition of AC105 is an important addition to our existing pipeline, providing a clinical stage compound to complement GGF2, which is in early Phase 1 clinical trials for the treatment of heart failure, as well as our preclinical programs in remyelination and spinal cord injury," said CEO Ron Cohen.
Acorda, of course, knows something about locomotor functions. It developed and gained an approval on Ampyra, a drug MS patients use to improve walking ability. Sales of the drug fell below some analysts' estimates in the first quarter, though, which has kept up pressure on the company to beef up its pipeline and future revenue prospects.
Acorda CEO Ron Cohen has made no secret of the fact that he has been particularly interested in adding mid-stage programs ahead of the Phase I drugs that the company has in the pipeline for neurology. As Xconomy notes in its coverage today, Medtronic added polyethylene glycol to magnesium to increase the amount of magnesium that reaches an injured nervous system. That averts the need of high concentrations of magnesium, which would likely trigger harsh side effects.