Washington Editor

Acorda Therapeutics Inc. priced a $33 million initial public offering Friday, selling 5.5 million common shares at $6 apiece.

The per-share price came in lower than first projected, but is nothing new for many companies seeking IPOs these days. The Hawthorne, N.Y.-based company now has the milestone in its rearview mirror, two years after dropping earlier plans to go public because of unfavorable market conditions.

On Friday, Acorda’s shares (NASDAQ:ACOR) traded up $6.72, a 12 percent increase.

Company representatives could not speak per SEC rules, but its prospectus said net proceeds will total about $28.6 million, and the company plans to spend the bulk of it to complete its pivotal study of Fampridine-SR (4-aminopyridine), a product for multiple sclerosis.

Specifically, Acorda is earmarking $20 million to $25 million to complete the trial and for other activities related to filing the small molecule’s new drug application, as well as for research and development on its marketed product, Zanaflex (tizanidine), and studies related to its preclinical programs on chondroitinase, neuregulin and remyelinating antibodies. About $7 million to $10 million is tabbed for sales and marketing activities for Zanaflex capsules and Fampridine-SR, assuming the FDA approves the latter. The remainder will be set aside for general corporate purposes, such as paying down sales-based milestones for Zanaflex to Elan Corp. plc, and for working capital, capital expenditures and the acquisition or licensing of complementary products.

Fampridine-SR, which also is licensed from Dublin, Ireland-based Elan, is in a 240-patient Phase III trial designed to evaluate multiple sclerosis patients’ walking ability following a special protocol assessment agreement with the FDA last year. In the most recent Phase II trial, data showed a trend toward improvement in the primary endpoint of walking speed and, when analyzed using the same methodology that the FDA agreed to for Phase III, the results are statistically significant. (See BioWorld Today, May 5, 2005.)

Recruitment into Phase III is expected to wrap up this month, and with a treatment period of 14 weeks and patients involved in trial procedures for about five months, the company expects to evaluate data in the third quarter.

Previously, Fampridine-SR missed its endpoints in two pivotal trials in spinal cord injury, failing to show significantly reduced spasticity. Acorda owns worldwide development and marketing rights to the drug and has internal commercialization plans for the U.S. and Canada, while seeking partners outside North America. (See BioWorld Today, April, 15, 2004.)

The company has a 14-person internal sales force and a 160-member contract sales force selling Zanaflex, though Zanaflex capsules and tablets compete with 11 generic versions of tizanidine tablets. But Acorda’s marketing group is laying the groundwork for Fampridine-SR and covering the same area.

Acorda, which said it would have about 19 million shares outstanding after the offering, also granted underwriters a 30-day, 825,000-share overallotment option. Banc of America Securities LLC served as the offering’s underwriter, along with Lazard Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray & Co. and SG Cowen & Co., all of New York.

Prior to its IPO, Acorda had raised $140.5 million since its 1995 incorporation. The company first filed a registration statement for a $75 million IPO in fall 2003, withdrew it in early 2004, and filed again to go public just four months ago. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 7, 2005.)

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