Adding a bit of funding two months after pulling back a planned initial public offering, Acorda Therapeutics Inc. raised $11.5 million through a private round of financing.

"We had the opportunity to raise a small additional round from some new and current investors," Tierney Saccavino, Acorda's director of corporate communications, told BioWorld Today. "And in biotech, you always raise money when you can."

The Hawthorne, N.Y.-based company withdrew its IPO in January, almost four months after filing for a $75 million offering. But Saccavino said there was no pressing need for the latest funding. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 1, 2003.)

"Prudent managers are always looking to keep a company as well capitalized as possible," she added, noting that the company has not specified a time frame in which it plans to use the funding. "We're currently well capitalized, but we just had some interest and the opportunity to bring in some additional funds."

Founded in 1995, Acorda last brought in funds less than a year ago, when it raised $55.3 million in its third round. To date, the company has raised $140.5 million, of which about $131 million is attributable to venture capital investors, Saccavino said. (See BioWorld Today, May 12, 2003.)

She said the funding would be used as general capital. Product development falls under that broad heading, and Acorda is staring down a near-term milestone on that front.

Early next quarter, the company expects to report Phase III data from a study of its lead product, Fampridine-SR, in spinal cord injury. Prior findings showed that fampridine, the active molecule of the orally available small molecule, improves impulse conduction in nerve fibers in which myelin has been damaged.

The sustained-release drug also is being evaluated for use in treating multiple sclerosis, with Phase II data expected shortly after the spinal cord injury findings are released.

Another significant product in Acorda's pipeline, valrocemide, is scheduled to enter clinical studies later this year for epilepsy or bipolar disorder, Saccavino said.

The anticonvulsive drug is partnered with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which last year acquired co-development and co-promotion rights to the broad-spectrum small molecule. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 25, 2003.)

Fampridine-SR also was part of the deal, as Jerusalem-based Teva gained first negotiation rights to the drug.

Earlier-stage programs at Acorda include its chondroitinase therapeutic approach to repair the injured brain and spinal cord, and a regenerative antibody program through which it is studying approaches to stimulate axon regeneration in central nervous system disorders. Both remain in preclinical development.