Investor urges Acorda to sell up after patent ruling

Hedge fund Scopia Capital Management LP, which owns about 17% of Acorda Therapeutics Inc, has called on the developer of drugs targeting neurological disorders to explore a sale, according to an SEC regulatory filing, Reuters reported.

Pressure on Acorda to consider a sale comes after a judge in March invalidated patents held by Acorda related to its multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra, meaning Ampyra could soon face generic competition.

According to Reuters data, sales of Ampyra made up almost 90% of Acorda’s 2016 revenue of $519 million.

Scopia Capital Management LP published a letter it sent to Acorda’s board of directors informing the company that it had accumulated a 17% stake and requesting the appointment of a special committee of independent directors to oversee “a review of all strategic alternatives to maximize value,” including a sale, Reuters reported.

“We are highly confident that multiple qualified, potential buyers would be interested in engaging with Acorda at a significant premium to its present value,” Ashu Tyagi, a partner as Scopia, wrote in the letter.

Acorda replied in a statement: “The Acorda board of directors and management team are committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders and all Acorda stakeholders.

“As part of its contingency planning related to the Ampyra patents, Acorda’s board and management team thoroughly considered options to enhance shareholder value, as they do regularly.

“Based on this recent review, the board unanimously determined that focusing on our two late-stage programs in Parkinson’s disease (INBRIJA and tozadenant) and maximizing Ampyra is the best path forward to create value for shareholders.

“We believe that a sale of the company at the present time would not adequately compensate shareholders for the potential benefits of the company’s late-stage programs.

“Moreover, initiating a sale process or a public review of strategic alternatives at this point would destabilize operations, hinder our ability to execute on the company’s business plan and risk significantly devaluing the company …”