Acorda wins big over thwarted patent challenger Bass as PTO upholds Ampyra's IP

Acorda Therapeutics can chalk up another win over patent challenger Kyle Bass and his Coalition for Affordable Drugs.

Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board upheld all four patents on multiple sclerosis med Ampyra, thwarting Bass’ attempt to get the Ardsley, New York-based drugmaker’s IP tossed out.

It’s a “great victory” for Acorda and “certainly the drug industry” as it handles challenges from Hayman Capital Management founder Bass and others who follow his lead, Paul Hastings LLP’s Naveen Modi, who co-led Acorda’s legal effort, said in an interview. Bass has been using the inter partes review system, initially set up to weed out low-quality patents involved in litigation, to attack the IP shields of drugmakers he’s shorted, profiting from the process when his activities spook investors and send shares south.

While Acorda was the first company Bass took to task, he’s followed up with a series of challenges to pharmas including Celgene and Biogen, and industry watchers have been closely following the Acorda case for clues of how Bass’ strategy might play out down the line.

From here on out, hedge funds “will have to really think about ... what they want to put forward in a challenge like these,” Modi said, noting that “I would hope this discourages entities like Hayman Capital from filing challenges like the ones that were filed here.”

This was Bass’ second go-around with Acorda on the IPR front. Before the PTAB decided to initiate reviews on the set of four patents, it declined to do so with a previous set.

Unfortunately for Acorda, though, it’s not completely out of the woods. It’s also fighting three ANDA challengers to uphold its patents in court, where it’ll need another win to protect its Ampyra franchise, Leerink Partners’ Paul Matteis wrote in a note to clients. All told, he expects to see generics descend on the med in 2020.