Acorda licenses rights to neurological candidate from Medtronic

Acorda Therapeutics has licensed worldwide development and commercialization rights to a proprietary magnesium formulation--referred to as AC105--from Medtronic. Acorda plans to study AC105 as an acute treatment for patients who have suffered neurological trauma, such as a spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

As part of the deal, Acorda paid $3 million upfront to Medtronic and will provide up to $32 million in regulatory and development milestone payments. A single-digit sales royalty will also be paid if AC105 is commercialized by Acorda.

"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 I clinical trials for the treatment of heart failure, as well as our preclinical programs in remyelination and spinal cord injury," CEO Ron Cohen says in a release.

The FDA granted fast-track designation on February 2009 for AC105 to improve functional recovery of acute spinal cord injury patients. Acorda expects to apply for FDA orphan drug designation for the acute treatment of SCI and will explore orphan drug designations in Europe and in other parts of the world.

The deal fits in with Acorda's strategy to build up its Phase II pipeline of drugs to address unmet medical needs in neurology, as Xconomy notes. The company sells Ampyra for multiple sclerosis and the muscle spasm drug Zanaflex, plus it has a drug in Phase I, "[b]ut we have nothing in the middle," Cohen, who emphasized the need to diversify with mid-stage products, explained in a phone interview earlier this year with Xconomy.

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