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Acorda's Shares Down on Disappointing Ampyra View for 2018

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Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (ACOR - Free Report) announced preliminary sales numbers of its key multiple sclerosis drug, Ampyra, for the fourth quarter of 2017 and issued a financial outlook for 2018 at the JP Morgan healthcare conference. The company also provided a business update at the same.

Acorda expects net sales for 2017 at approximately $542 million, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 10%. However, this unaudited number fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $576.6 million. The company also projects sales figure from its key multiple sclerosis drug, Ampyra, in the fourth quarter to be $166 million.

The company awaits a positive cash balance in excess of $300 million by the end of 2017, higher than the previous estimate of $200 million.

2018 Guidance

The company expects Ampyra net sales in the range of $330-$350 million for 2018. This captures potential erosion in the drug sales from its generic launches in 2018. Notably, in Mar 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware invalidated four patents pertaining to Ampyra that were set to expire between 2025 and 2027, paving way for the drug’s generic competition in 2018.

Acorda’s share price decreased almost 5% following the guidance release as the sales outlook of Ampyra for 2018 was below market expectations. However, the stock has outperformed the industry in a year. While the stock has gained 5.2%, the industry has declined 2.8% during the period.

The company’s R&D expenses for 2018 are likely to be in the range of $100-$110 million. Its view for SG&A expenditure in 2018 is pegged at a band of $170-$180 million.

Pipeline Updates

In December 2017, Acorda announced that it has resubmitted the new drug application (NDA) for its late stage pipeline candidate, Inbrija, to the FDA for treating symptoms of OFF periods in people with Parkinson’s receiving a carbidopa/levodopa regimen. The FDA is expected to inform the company within 74 days if the submission is complete and also permit a full review in February 2018. Acorda is also planning to submit regulatory applications for Inbrija in the EU in the first quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile in November, Acorda had announced that it has decided to discontinue the phase III study on one of its lead Parkinson’s disease (“PD”) candidates, tozadenant. The decision was based on some serious safety issue observed in the study.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Acorda carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL - Free Report) , XOMA Corp. (XOMA - Free Report) and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. . While Exelixis and XOMA sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Sucampo carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Exelixis’ earnings per share estimates have been revised upward from 70 cents to 73 cents for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company pulled off positive earnings surprise in all the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 572.92%. Share price of the company has soared 112.7% in a year’s time.

XOMA’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 99 cents to 42 cents for 2018 over the last 30 days. The company came up with an average beat of 47.92%. Share price of the company has skyrocketed 537.1% in the last 12 months.

Sucampo’s earnings per share estimates have moved north from $1.15 to $1.19 for the current year in the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 15.63%. Share price of the company has surged 35.8% in a year.

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