Acorda lands $110M upfront in new Biogen pact

Acorda Therapeutics has forged a $510 million licensing pact for its multiple sclerosis drug Fampridine-SR with Biogen Idec. And Biogen has agreed to pay a hefty $110 million of that in an upfront fee for the late-stage program.

The pact was announced just hours after Biogen Idec and UCB announced that they were shelving a mid-stage MS drug, CDP323, after reaching the conclusion that the drug failed to demonstrate any clinical benefit when compared to a placebo.

Biogen Idec gains marketing rights to the drug outside the United States, adding to its considerable MS franchise. The biotech company also takes over regulatory and clinical work outside the United States, committing to $400 million in milestones and a royalty package. Acorda in turn will share a portion of its revenue from the drug with Elan, which holds a licensing pact of its own on Fampridine and manufactures the drug.

"We are delighted to be working with (Biogen Idec) to make Fampridine-SR, if approved, available to people living with MS in Europe, Canada, Australia and other areas of the world," said Ron Cohen, M.D., president and CEO of Acorda. "We believe that Biogen Idec's international expertise in MS and neurology also will help us optimize future development of Fampridine-SR and maximize its value in markets outside the U.S."

Fampridine-SR has posted positive data in two late-stage trials which tested the oral drug's ability to improve patients' ability to walk. An FDA approval could come this fall and the EMEA has already notified Acorda that the drug is eligible for a marketing submission.

- read the press release
- check out the story from Dow Jones on the failed MS program