All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for September 2003

Teva hedging position in MS market with Acorda deal - analyst

Nessuah Zannex analyst Haim Israel: Combining Copaxone and Fampridine could create a winning solution in the treatment of MS

September 24, 2003
Avi Weinreb
Globes Online

 Nessuah Zannex said today it believed Teva’s (Nasdaq: TEVA) new agreement with Acorda Therapeutics would help the Israeli drug maker hedge risks in the market for multiple sclerosis treatments.

Under the agreement, Acorda granted Teva a right of first negotiation for the co-development and co-promotion of its lead product candidate, Fampridine-SR in North America. Fampridine is an investigational treatment being developed for chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) and for multiple sclerosis (MS).

“Fampridine is not a treatment at the expense Teva's innovative MS treatment, Copaxone, but rather provides a treatment to one of the MS side effects, walking ability and muscle strength,” Nessuah Zannex analyst Haim Israel explained. “Copaxone reduces the number and frequency of seizures. The importance of Fampridine, assuming it hits the market, is to improve the life quality of patients.”

Since there is no absolute cure for MS at present, current treatments, like Copaxone, focus on reducing the frequency of MS attacks. But with this new deal, Teva might be able leverage its marketing channels, strengths and accumulated know-how to combine Copaxone and Fampridine, creating a winning solution in the treatment of MS, said Israel.

Israel also noted that the agreement called for Teva and Acorda to co-develop and co-promote Valrocemide, an epilepsy drug candidate currently at the start of phase III trials.

In the best case scenario, Valrocemide will not hit the market before mid 2006, Israel predicted. Market potential assessments are problematic as FDA approval is several years away, although Pfizer's (PFE) Neurontin is currently the biggest player in the field with total annual sales of $1.8 billion, he noted.

Copyright © 2003, Globes Online