Acorda shares soar on possible patent extension of MS drug

BOSTON/BANGALORE Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:32am IST

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BOSTON/BANGALORE (Reuters) - Shares of Acorda Therapeutics Inc jumped 27 percent before being halted amid optimism the company will be granted a patent extension on its multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued an update on its website titled "reasons for allowance" of Acorda's "828 " patent application.

Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Christopher Raymond , who termed the event as a "nice surprise , " said the patent extension will push the timeline of generic Ampyra launch beyond 2024.

"(Acorda) management is still waiting for confirmation from USPTO that a formal allowance is forthcoming , " Raymond , who raised his price target on the stock to $30 from $27 , said .

A spokesman for Acorda said the company has seen the USPTO update but declined to comment further.

According to Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst at ISI Group, the update "suggests the organization will grant the patent, but we are still working through the details."

Ampyra was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on January 22, 2010 and has

seven years of exclusivity in multiple sclerosis based on its orphan drug status.

The patent, if extended through to 2024, would be worth at least $10 a share, according to Michael Yee, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Analysts see Ampyra reaching sales of around $871 million by 2015, according to Thomson Pharma consensus forecasts.

"We believe that IP (intellectual property) extension would be a significant catalyst for the shares and would make Acorda much more amenable to be an acquisition target," Yee said.

Acorda shares rose $5.71 to $27.13 before being halted on the Nasdaq stock market.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Boston and Anand Basu in Bangalore; editing by John Wallace)

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