Acorda draws buyout interest from neuro-focused Biogen, UCB: report

Acorda Therapeutics
Acorda is under activist pressure from Scopia Capital Management to sell the company. (Business Wire)

Earlier this month, reports said Acorda could be scouting buyers. And now, rumors are swirling as to who those potential bidders might be.

The Ardsley, New York-based drugmaker has attracted takeout interest from both Big Biotech Biogen and Belgium’s UCB, Bloomberg said.

That interest fulfills a prophecy from Scopia Capital Management, an activist hedge fund that’s been pushing Acorda to sell. “We are highly confident that multiple qualified, potential buyers would be interested in engaging with Acorda,” Scopia wrote in a letter to Acorda’s board in August.

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RELATED: Hard-hit Acorda bows to activist's urging, scouts potential buyers: report

Since then, Acorda has reportedly brought on help from Centerview Partners and MTS Health Partners to help it find a buyer.

A pickup of the company could make sense for either Biogen or UCB, both of which have focuses on neurology. The star of Acorda’s pipeline—Inbrija, a Parkinson’s candidate—would fight right into either portfolio. Both potential suitors have their own Parkinson’s prospects in trials, and UCB currently markets Neupro for the disease.

RELATED: Under threat of early Ampyra knockoffs, Acorda plans to chop 100 jobs

Meanwhile, it’s been a tough stretch for Acorda, which is scrambling to win approval for Inbrija before generics descend on key multiple sclerosis product Ampyra. Back in April, a court upturned four of the five patents covering the drug, and while the company is still hoping to pull off a successful appeal, it announced plans last year to slash 100 jobs in order to prepare for generic competition.

The plan is for Inbrija to fill the gap. Acorda now believes that medication can rake in more than $800 million in peak U.S. sales, it said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

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