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Acorda inks $185M asset sale to Merz, files for bankruptcy after years of disappointing sales

Acorda inks $185M asset sale to Merz, files for bankruptcy after years of disappointing sales

After years of struggling with hurdles such as generic competition and significantly lower-than-expected sales of its top meds, Acorda Therapeutics is hanging up the gloves with a $185 million deal to sell off its assets and a bankruptcy filing.

Germany’s Merz therapeutics, known for its Botox rival Xeomin, has stepped in to pick up the company’s Parkinson’s disease med Inbrija and multiple sclerosis drug Amprya (or Fampyra in Europe and Canada).

Acorda came to the decision after it explored a “wide range” of options during a lengthy strategic review, the company said in its Monday press release.

 "Acorda’s management team and board have evaluated all of our strategic options, and following an exhaustive process believe that this option is in the best interest of stakeholders,” CEO Ron Cohen, M.D., said.

One of the company’s top priorities is to ensure patients can continue receiving their medicines. Acorda is “confident that Merz Therapeutics, if they are the ultimate acquirer, will be able to seamlessly continue serving these patients’ needs,” Cohen added. The bankruptcy will leave the company’s 97 staffers at its Pearl River, New York, manufacturing site out of work by the closure date of June 15, according to a New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act filing.

Acorda will continue with its normal operations until the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approves the sale.

Meanwhile, Merz looks to use the products to bolster its presence in North America, Merz Group’s chief commercial officer Jörg Bergler noted in Merz’s press release. “We recognize the responsibility of providing continued patient care and support for Acorda’s well-established and innovative therapies and see this as an optimal potential portfolio expansion that underscores our ambition in key therapeutic areas,” Merz Therapeutics’ CEO Stefan König noted.

The deal is a way out after years of struggles for New York-based Acorda.

In 2018, Inbrija was approved as a treatment for “off” episodes for Parkinson’s patients, which is when symptoms return between regular medication doses. The company initially projected $800 million in peak sales, but it later adjusted the estimate to between $350 million and $500 million. That range still proved far too lofty, with global sales coming in at $30.9 million in 2022.

Ampryva, meanwhile, generated $455 million in 2018 but quickly slid to $163 the following year after losing four patents. Most recently, that drug collected $15.7 million over 2023’s third quarter in the face of immense generic competition. The company responded to the challenges with several rounds of layoffs, including cutting 25% of its workforce in 2019, 16% in early 2021 and another 15% later that year in an attempt to save some $20 million annually.

April 10, 2024

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