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Acorda seals deal for nasal spray developer

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Acorda Therapeutics Inc. in Ardsley has closed on its $6.8 million acquisition of Neuronex Inc., a privately held, North Carolina-based company developing a nasal spray formulation of diazepam.

Dr. Ronald Cohen, president and CEO of Acorda, which develops and markets drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, in a press release called the nasal spray product “an important addition to our pipeline. … This product leverages our existing sales, marketing and medical organizations, which have proved highly successful in bringing novel neurological therapies to market.”

Acorda is developing the diazepam nasal spray to control bouts of acute repetitive seizures in selected patients with epilepsy. Dr. Enrique Carrazana, Acorda’s chief medical officer, said up to 175,000 persons in the U.S. suffer from acute repetitive seizures despite being on antiepileptic medication regimens. He said the nasal spray product, if approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “will represent a major contribution to patient care.”

Acorda also agreed to pay Neuronex up to $18 million as regulatory and manufacturing milestones are reached and up to $105 million for specified sales milestones. Acorda also agreed to pay royalty-like payments on sales tiered in the upper single-digit to lower double-digit range.  The Ardsley company also will take over existing Neuronex licensing agreements with third parties and pay them up to $11 million in regulatory and sales milestone payments and single-digit sales royalties.

Acorda plans to submit a new drug application to the FDA for the nasal spray in 2013.

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