Skip to main content

Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) - Get Free Report is adding an experimental Parkinson's disease drug in late-stage testing to its pipeline through an acquisition of Finland's Biotie Therapies (BITI) , the companies announced Monday.

The all-cash tender offer values Biotie at $363 million, or $25.60 per ADS, representing a 96% premium over the stock's closing price on Friday.

By purchasing Biotie, Acorda gains control of tozadenant, a pill designed to reduce the "off time" experienced by Parkinson's patients treated. Off time occurs when the levodopa used by Parkinson's patients to control motor symptoms begins to wear off. These off periods cause the re-emergence of impaired movement, muscle stiffness and tremors.

Biotie is conducting a phase III study of tozadenant in Parkinson's, which will now be continued under Acorda ownership. If the study is successful, tozadenant could be filed for U.S. approval at the end of 2018, Acorda said.

The Belgian biotech firm UCB returned clinical development rights to tozadenant to Biotie in 2014 following the completion of a phase II study.

In the phase II study, the average daily off time for patients treated with tozadenant was reduced by just over 1 hour relative to placebo, Acorda said.

Tozadenant belongs to a class of drugs which block A2A receptors in the brain and thereby enhance the ability of the neurotransmitter adenosine to promote motor activity. Merck suspended clinical development of a similar drug in 2013 following the failure of phase III studies in Parkinson's.

The Japanese drug maker Kyowa Hakko Kirin is conducting North American and European phase III studies of its own adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, known as nouriast, with results expected later this year. Nouriast is already approved in Japan.

Acorda is financing the Biotie acquisition with proceeds from $75 million private placement and a loan from JPMorgan Chase.

Last week, Acorda forecast 2016 net revenue for its multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra in the range of $475 million to $485 million and said 2015 Ampyra sales were $436 million.

Acorda shares closed Friday at $39.90.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.