Bio­gen, UCB step up to kick the tires at Acor­da as buy­out buzz grows — re­port

Ron Co­hen

Acor­da $ACOR CEO Ron Co­hen ap­pears to have stirred up some high-lev­el in­ter­est in a po­ten­tial auc­tion.

Ru­mors have been swirling that days af­ter the biotech re­port­ed­ly brought in ad­vis­ers to help prep for a sale, some bid­ders have be­gun to step up to the ta­ble. And ear­ly Fri­day Bloomberg re­port­ed that Bio­gen and UCB have stepped up to kick the tires, along with pos­si­ble in­ter­est from Asian drug­mak­ers.

The one key as­set on the ta­ble right now is the lev­odopa drug CVT-301, which is back in front of reg­u­la­tors af­ter the FDA kicked it back with a refuse-to-file let­ter.

Acor­da has seen its share price swell back up as talk of a buy­out be­gan to heat up 12 days ago. Its mar­ket cap is at $1.16 bil­lion, and the spec­u­la­tion now cen­ters on what kind of a pre­mi­um the strug­gling biotech can fetch for its one key as­set.

Buy­out buzz, though, is just what the mar­ket loves the most. And this morn­ing Acor­da’s shares are up 17% in pre-mar­ket trad­ing.

At JP­Mor­gan, Co­hen of­fered a best case sce­nario for their late-stage drug, say­ing they had boost­ed the mar­ket po­ten­tial for the ther­a­py to $800 mil­lion. Tout­ing prospec­tive num­bers like that dur­ing the an­nu­al con­fab — a pa­rade of bull­ish talk — un­der­scored the auc­tion process that was un­der­way.

The set­back on CVT-301, though, high­light­ed the per­ilous po­si­tion that Acor­da and Co­hen’s team find them­selves in af­ter a judge in­val­i­dat­ed key patents for Ampyra last year. The biotech now ex­pects to start to lose the fran­chise to gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion mid-year and was anx­ious­ly hus­tling ahead with CVT-301 to re­place Amypra, which has pro­vid­ed the bulk of the com­pa­ny’s op­er­at­ing cash.

Just two months ago Acor­da had to scrap its late-stage drug tozadenant af­ter 5 pa­tients died in a clin­i­cal tri­al. Acor­da paid $363 mil­lion in cash to ac­quire a Finnish com­pa­ny so it could add the drug to the pipeline.

Even be­fore the litany of pipeline dis­as­ters oc­curred, the cri­sis spawned by the Ampyra patent case in­spired Acor­da’s biggest share­hold­er to push for a sale, which Co­hen and his team ini­tial­ly re­sist­ed by adopt­ing a poi­soned pill de­fense.

Any sale of Acor­da now would amount to a sim­ple bolt-on for any ac­quir­er. Co­hen made it clear that he was get­ting rid of much of the rest of the pipeline when he an­nounced cut­backs last year. And the re­main­ing staff would face deep, deep cuts by any ac­quir­er look­ing to jus­ti­fy the price.

Im­ple­ment­ing re­silience in the clin­i­cal tri­al sup­ply chain

Since January 2020, the clinical trials ecosystem has quickly evolved to manage roadblocks impeding clinical trial integrity, and patient care and safety amid a global pandemic. Closed borders, reduced air traffic and delayed or canceled flights disrupted global distribution, revealing how flexible logistics and supply chains can secure the timely delivery of clinical drug products and therapies to sites and patients.

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