Thursday, April 18, 2024

Merz Therapeutics buying two drugs for $185 million

The parent of Raleigh-based Merz Therapeutics has agreed to pay $185 million to acquire two commercial drugs from Acorda Therapeutics.

One of the drugs is for the treatment of “off” phases of Parkinson’s disease called Inbrija. The other drug is for the treatment of gait disorders in multiple sclerosis called Ampyra. In Parkinson’s, motor fluctuations are changes in the ability to move and are also referred to as “on-off” times.

The acquisition will be processed through a U.S. bankruptcy court sale process where Merz Therapeutics will provide the opening bid in the auction. The completion of the sale process is expected in June 2024, with any sale subject to court approval.

Merz Therapeutics will provide a “stalking horse” bid. A stalking horse bid is the initial bid on a bankrupt company’s assets from an interested buyer chosen by the bankrupt company. After that bid, other companies can choose to make an offer.

Acorda filed for U.S. bankruptcy court protection in New York on Tuesday, April 2.

“We are confident that Merz Therapeutics, if they are the ultimate acquirer, will be able to seamlessly continue serving these patients’ needs, given Merz’s longstanding dedication to improving the lives of people who suffer from movement disorders and other neurological conditions,” says Acorda CEO Ron Cohen in a statement.

It’s the third transaction for Merz in the United States in the past 10 years.

“With an expansion in our portfolio for Parkinson’s disease patients and an entry point into multiple sclerosis, purchasing Acorda Therapeutics assets would accelerate our growth strategy by broadening our portfolio of movement disorder therapies and providing additional treatment options to patients and providers we already reach with our existing infrastructure,” said Merz Therapeutics President Kevin O’Brien. “At the same time, these new assets would provide the opportunity to expand our capabilities and make new inroads with customers we have yet to access.” 

The company is now led by a fourth generation of the Merz family and employs more than 4,000 globally, including several hundred in Raleigh. The capital city is home to the Merz Therapeutics unit led by O’Brien.

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at

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