Acorda Acquires Civitas Therapeutics for $525M for Parkinson's Treatment

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR)  said Wednesday it would acquire privately held Civitas Therapeutics in a $525 million cash deal that would provide the buyer access to a late-stage Parkinson's disease treatment.

Ardsley, N.Y.-based Acorda markets three therapies focused on countering neurological disorders. Buying Civitas would give it worldwide rights to CVT-301, a Phase 3 treatment candidate for some Parkinson's complications, as well as rights to Civitas' proprietary pulmonary delivery technology and Chelsea, Mass.-based manufacturing facilities.

Acorda said the treatment for Parkinson's is complicated by challenges in maintaining proper dosing regimen, and that the Civitas drug is designed to treat a rapid return of symptoms common in Parkinson's patients. The drug's Phase 3 study is expected to begin enrollment in early 2015 and, if successful, a filing for regulatory approval in the United States is expected by the end of 2016.

"The acquisition adds an exciting product candidate to Acorda's pipeline that addresses a significant unmet need in Parkinson's disease," Acorda CEO Ron Cohen said in a statement. "It also leverages Acorda's existing development and commercial capabilities and creates an opportunity for us to develop a global presence."

Cohen called the CVT-301 drug "a potentially transformative therapy for people with Parkinson's disease," adding that the company estimates U.S. sales of the drug could exceed $500 million.

As part of the deal, Acorda will make a $35 million payment to cover costs related to a Civitas change-in-control provision. The purchase is expected to close before year's end.

MTS Health Partners LP and Lazard served as Acorda Therapeutics' financial advisers, with a Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP team including partners Jim Woolery, Christopher Cox, Ira Schacter, Greg Patti, Linda Swartz, Dorothy Auth and Andrew Forman providing legal counsel. Civitas was advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Ropes & Gray LLP.

David Fox and William Sorabella of Kirkland & Ellis LLP led the team representing MTS Health and Andrew Dickinson and David Low of Lazard, who were financial advisers to Acorda Therapeutics.

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