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Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (ACOR - Analyst Report) recently completed the acquisition of privately-held Neuronex, Inc. As per the agreement terms, Acorda paid $6.8 million to Neuronex.

The acquisition of Neuronex adds diazepam nasal spray to Acorda’s neurology pipeline. Currently, Acorda is preparing to submit a 505(b)(2) type new drug application (NDA) for diazepam nasal spray for the management of seizure in certain epilepsy patients. The company plans to submit the regulatory application to the FDA in 2013.

At the time of announcing the acquisition agreement (February 2012), Acorda had made an upfront payment of $2 million. Acorda also provided research funding of $1.5 million since then.

The company is further obligated to make milestone payments of $18 million and $105 million depending on certain regulatory and manufacturing-related goals and sales targets. Acorda will also pay Neuronex royalties (tiered upper single-digit to lower double-digit) on diazepam nasal spray sales. Moreover, Acorda will also pay regulatory and sales milestone payments to third parties, up to $11 million, and single-digit royalties.

Our Recommendation

Though sales of the company’s key product Ampyra have improved in the past few quarters, it remains to be seen whether the performance is sustainable. Moreover, we remain concerned about the company’s dependence on Ampyra for growth. We prefer to remain on the sidelines until we see a sustained improvement in Ampyra’s performance. Thus, we maintain a Neutral recommendation on Acorda. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) in the short run.

Pharma stocks that currently look attractive include companies like Allergan (AGN - Analyst Report), AstraZeneca (AZN - Analyst Report) and Novo Nordisk (NVO - Analyst Report). Each of these companies carries a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy).

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