Biogen returns ex-U.S. rights of MS drug Fampyra to Acorda

With sales declining for aging multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Fampyra, Biogen has exercised an option to return licensing rights outside of the United States to Acorda Therapeutics.

The move, which becomes effective on January 1 of 2025, ends a 15-year arrangement between the companies. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2010, six months after Acorda of Ardsley, N.Y., signed over its ex-U.S. rights to Biogen.

Acorda said it will assume commercialization responsibilities this year as marketing authorization transfers and distribution arrangements are finalized for each territory.

“We are excited to bring Fampyra in-house, which we believe will add significant value to Acorda, and allow us to continue to provide access to this important medication for people with MS around the world,” Acorda’s CEO Ron Cohen, M.D., said in a release.

The extended-release tablet was the first of its kind upon its approval, allowing patients with MS to have improved balance and to walk better. It was an immediate hit, generating $141 million in U.S. sales in its first year on the market.

U.S. revenue for Ampyra—its commercial name in the U.S.—maxed out at $542 million in 2017 before it became subject to generic competition the following year after four of its patents for were ruled invalid.

In the first three quarters of last year, Acorda reported its sales at $45 million, which was a decrease of 17% from the first three quarters of 2022.

Biogen’s sales of Fampyra, which peaked at $143 million in 2014, have not eroded as quickly as those for Acorda. Biogen reported sales of $97 million for Fampyra in 2022 and $67 million in the first three quarters of last year. In 2021, Biogen paid Acorda $11.7 million in royalties.

Acorda, which specializes in neurological diseases, cut its headcount by 25% in 2019 and by 16% in 2021 as sales of Ampyra continued to decline and high hopes for its Parkinson’s disease treatment Inbrija never materialized. The dopamine agonist generated sales of $31 million in 2022.