Acorda filed for bankruptcy, and Merz is eyeing its assets

Melinda Gimpel

Acorda Therapeutics has filed for bankruptcy protection, hoping to keep operating while it tries to arrange the sale of its main assets to a US subsidiary of Germany’s Merz.

The announcement made last night US time sparked a run on Acorda's shares, down almost 62% at the time of writing. The news emerged shortly after Acorda cancelled its fourth-quarter results conference call, which was scheduled to take place yesterday.

Merz Therapeutics has been named as the “stalking horse” bidder for the assets – the company chosen by a company that filed for Chapter 11 protection to put in an initial bid for assets – and has proffered $185 million for the products. It is possible that other interested parties could come forward.

On the table are Acorda’s multiple sclerosis therapy Ampyra/Fampyra (dalfampridine) and Inbrija (levodopa inhalation powder) for Parkinson’s disease, which made sales of $45 million and $25 million, respectively, in the first nine months of last year.

While Inbrija posted some growth over that period, Ampyra has gone into a steady decline following the emergence of generic competition, and Inbrija has never got close to Acorda’s initial hopes of becoming an $800 million-a-year product. The company ended the last financial reporting period at the end of September 2023 with around $34 million in cash reserves.

Pearl River, New York-based Acorda has struggled to rebuild momentum after it was pummelled by the late-stage failure of an experimental Parkinson’s therapy several years ago, and in recent years has been steadily cutting staff and restructuring to try to survive.

In the last year or so it has been pointing to the potential for Inbrija in ex-US markets as its best hope for growth, including new filings in Latin America and China, as well as encouraging signs for uptake in European markets like Spain and Germany.

“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,” said the company’s chief executive and president, Ron Cohen.

“One of our top priorities is to ensure an uninterrupted supply of our medications to people with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease,” he added. “We are confident that Merz Therapeutics, if they are the ultimate acquirer, will be able to seamlessly continue serving these patients’ needs.”

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash