Acorda therapeutics receives NIH Phase 2 grant for central nervous system repair

December 20, 2002

Hawthorne, NY December 19, 2002 - Acorda Therapeutics announced today that it has been awarded a two-year Phase 2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institutes of Health. The $980,000 grant will continue to fund collaborative research between Acorda and Drs. Allan Bieber and Moses Rodriguez of Mayo Clinic. The grant will fund research at Acorda and at Mayo Clinic to advance the development of a class of naturally occurring human IgM antibodiesfor further preclinical testing in multiple sclerosis (MS). Upon successful completion of the aims of the study, Acorda expects to file an IND (investigational new drug application) with the FDA to begin clinical testing of these antibodies.

When myelin, the "insulation" surrounding nerve fibers, is lost or damaged, the nerve loses its ability to transmit signals to and from the brain. This loss of myelin can result in varying levels of disability, such as cognitive deficits, difficulty in walking and fatigue.

Under the support of a Phase 1 STTR grant, Acorda and Mayo Clinic tested the two antibodies under study (sHIgM22 and sHIgM46) using a widely accepted animal model. Mice were injected with a virus that causes demyelination in the nervous system and then received treatment with the study antibodies after the onset of demyelination. The antibody treatment produced a robust remyelination in these mice.

"Current MS therapies work by slowing the progression of the disease but do not address the permanent demyelination that leads to the disabilities associated with that condition. The antibodies being studied act to stimulate the regrowth of myelin, thereby offering an entirely new type of therapeutic approach in the treatment of MS," said Eric Chojnicki, Ph.D., Acorda's Director of Product Development, and the principal investigator on the grant.

"Our results indicate that these antibodies are part of the normal immune response in humans that may help protect and repair the brain and spinal cord from injury," says Moses Rodriguez, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Immunology at Mayo Medical School.

Acorda Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company, is developing therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI) and related neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). The Company's lead product, Fampridine-SR, is in Phase 3 clinical trials for chronic SCI and Phase 2 for MS. Acorda's technology platform includes two remyelinating agents in preclinical development for MS. The first is M1, a class of human monoclonal antibodies, and the second is GGF2, a product of the neuregulin 1 gene. Both agents have been shown to restore myelin in the brain and spinal cord in animal models of MS. Additionally, Acorda is developing protein- and stem cell-based technologies for regeneration and repair of the spinal cord and brain. In 2002, Acorda was the recipient of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association's L. W. Freeman Award for scientific research.
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Porter Novelli

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