Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (ACOR)

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Acorda Therapeutics, (ACOR)

Q3 2010 Earnings Call

November 1, 2010 08:00 am ET


Dr. Ron Cohen – President and Chief Executive Officer

David Lawrence – Chief Financial Officer

Lauren Sabella – Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations

Tierney Saccavino – Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications


Michael Yee – RBC

Joel Sendek – Lazard Capital

Yaron Werber – Citi

Geoff Meacham – JPMorgan

David Amsellem – Piper Jaffray

Chris Raymond – Robert Baird

Phil Nadeau – Cowen and Company

Mark Schoenebaum -- ISI Group



Welcome to Acorda Therapeutics Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call. (Operator instructions). Please be advised that this call is being taped at the company’s request. I’d now like to introduce your host for today’s call, Ms. Tierney Saccavino, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Acorda Therapeutics. Please go ahead.

Tierney Saccavino

Good morning, everyone, and welcome. With me today are Dr. Ron Cohen, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and David Lawrence, our Chief Financial Officer and Lauren Sabella, our Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations.

Before we begin, let me remind you that this presentation includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts regarding management’s expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects should be considered forward-looking.

These statements other than statements of historical fact regarding management’s expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects will be considered forward looking. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including Acorda Therapeutics’ ability to successfully market and sell Ampyra in the United States and to successfully market Zanaflex Capsules. Third party payers, including government agencies may not reimburse for the use of Ampyra at acceptable rates, or at all, and may impose restrictive pre-authorization requirements that limit or block prescriptions.

The risk of unfavorable results from future studies of Ampyra, the occurrence of adverse safety events with our product, delays in obtaining or failure to obtain regulatory approval of Ampyra outside the United States, and our dependence on our collaboration partner Biogen Idec in connection therewith, competition, failure to protect Acorda Therapeutics’ intellectual property or to defend against the intellectual property claims of others, the ability to obtain additional financing to support of Acorda Therapeutics’ operations and unfavorable results from our preclinical programs.

These and other risks are described in greater detail in Acorda Therapeutics’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Acorda Therapeutics may not actually achieve the goals or plans described in these forward-looking statements and investors should not place undue reliance on these statements. Forward looking statements made in the presentation are made only as of the date hereof, and Acorda Therapeutics disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this presentation.

Now I will turn over the call to our CEO, Ron Cohen.

Ron Cohen

Thanks, Tierney. Welcome everyone. This morning we reported our Q3 2010 financial results. We continue to be pleased with the progress of the Ampyra launch. Today Lauren will provide an update on our Ampyra and Zanaflex businesses, following which Dave will review financials for the quarter. I’ll then provide an update on our corporate growth strategy, and will then open the call for your questions. Please note, we’re aiming to provide as much data and color as we can during the launch of Ampyra, to assist investors in understanding key metrics, however, we may not continue to provide updates on all of this information as the launch progresses. Lauren?

Lauren Sabella

Thank you, Ron. Hello everyone. We’re very pleased with Ampyra sales for the quarter, which total $52.6 million. As of September 30th , approximately 6300 physicians have written at least one prescription for Ampyra. Importantly, almost 90% of physicians in our top five (inaudible) have written at least one prescription. This is a significant penetration only seven months after commercial availability. Based on data from this yield, we have expanded our initial into 5500 target physicians to approximately 10,000 targets. Through the end of Q3 we were in the initial phase of the Ampyra launch. The uptake of Ampyra was very rapid, driven by higher than expected pent up demand. We are now building on the base we have established. I will provide some additional detail in the following slides.

As we acknowledged, the initial influx of prescription requests was so great we were not able to process requests as quickly as they were coming in. We resolved that issue by increasing staff at Ampyra patient support services and streamlining our processes, so that by midsummer we had caught up in terms of initial processing of requests. However, it took us through early September to actually fill the qualifying prescriptions. Therefore, total prescriptions through that timeframe reflected a combination of current demand, and work down of the backlog.

To put this in perspective, as of the end of April, the Street’s consensus for full year 2010 Ampyra sales was $73 million, and we’ve already booked over $85 million in sales through September 30th . Looking ahead, we expect that the number of new patients starting on Ampyra will no longer be augmented by the backlog, and there may be some lag as we build on the current phase of demand. Therefore, Q4 sales may be lower than Q3.

This slide reflects the data collected from our specialty pharmacies year to date on new patients to therapy and total prescriptions. Please note that these numbers are approximate. Prescriptions were significantly impacted by the large backlog of prescription requests that were submitted earlier in the year, many of which were not filled until Q3. This backlog was eliminated by early September.

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