Acadia and Biovail Not Giving Up on Parkinson’s Drug

depressedAsk the average person to describe the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and they’ll usually mention the motor issues:  tremors, loss of coordination, and muscle stiffness.  But this degenerative disease doesn’t just affect the body–it also affects the mind.  Parkinson’s can cause frightening cognitive issues such as dementia and confusion. 

Acadia and its partner Biovail made news last month with a failed late-stage trial of pimavanserin, their experimental drug candidate to treat psychosis related to Parkinson’s disease.  The drug failed to meet its primary endpoint of antipsychotic efficacy in a Phase III trial.  Now, the companies have announced that they’re not giving up on pimavanserin.  They plan to use data from the failed trial, along with data from an ongoing late-stage trial, to aid in the design of a new late-stage trial.  Biovail will cover the cost of the new trial, which is planned for the first half of 2010.  Acadia plans to cut expenses this month to fund operations through the first half of 2011.   

Pimavanserin is a small molecule drug designed to be taken orally once daily. Both companies are developing the drug for psychosis related to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.  They also plan to develop pimavanserin as an adjunctive therapy for schizophrenia. San Diego-based Acadia specializes in small molecule drugs for the treatment of nervous system disorders.  Biovail, based in Missisauga, Ontario, markets controlled-release drugs for cardiac disorders, depression, and central nervous system disorders.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, nearly one million people in the U.S. suffer from Parkinson’s.  Companies developing treatments for this progressive condition include Neurologix, RhinoCyte, and BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics.

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