Acorda Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing therapies that restore function and improve the lives of people with MS, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions, has acquired two neuropathic pain management assets from NeurogesX. Qutenza is approved by the FDA for the management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia. The company also acquired NP-1998 (previously NGX-1998), a phase III ready, prescription strength capsaicin topical solution.
"The acquisition of Qutenza and NP-1998 enables us to expand into neuropathic pain management. We plan to support Qutenza with our existing medical and commercial infrastructure," said Ron Cohen, M.D., Acorda's president and chief executive officer. "In addition, we will leverage our neurology expertise to evaluate NP-1998 with an initial emphasis on painful diabetic neuropathy.”
Acorda paid approximately $8 million to acquire development and commercialization rights for Qutenza and NP-1998 in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, including $7 million to NeurogesX and approximately $900,000 for certain assumed accounts payable. Acorda also will pay up to $5 million upon achievement of certain milestones. Astellas Pharma Europe has exclusive commercialization rights for Qutenza in the European Economic Area (EEA), including the 27 countries of the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, as well as Switzerland, certain countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Astellas also has an option to develop NP-1998 in those same territories.
Qutenzais a dermal patch containing 8% prescription strength capsaicin that is applied once every three months for the management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia, also known as post-shingles nerve pain. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2010, and had net sales of $2.6 million in 2011. NeurogesX discontinued active promotion of the product in March 2012.
Astellas currently is conducting clinical trials of Qutenza including a phase III trial to assess its use in the treatment of pain associated with PDN. Acorda will have rights to review data from that trial, and the companies also may collaborate and/or share costs of future trials.