ACADIA Acquires CerSci Therapeutics to Boost Pain Portfolio

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. ACAD announced that it has completed the acquisition of Dallas, TX-based privately-held clinical-stage biotechnology company CerSci Therapeutics. Following this, ACADIA gained the worldwide rights to a portfolio of novel compounds for neurological conditions including non-opioid therapies for acute and chronic pain.

CerSci’s lead molecule is ACP-044, which is currently in early-stage studies. The candidate demonstrated encouraging efficacy and safety results in pre-clinical studies for incisional, inflammatory and neuropathic pain, and also showed favorable tolerability and pharmacokinetic properties in a phase I study. ACADIA plans to initiate a phase II clinical study on the same during the first half of 2021.

Per the deal, ACADIA purchased all the outstanding shares of CerSci for $52.5 million in the form of its stock. Moreover, if approved, CerSci stockholders may receive up to $887 million in development, commercial and sales milestones as well as tiered mid-single-digit royalties on net sales.

With this consolidation, ACADIA is looking to boost its pipeline by including non-opioid pain therapies that have the potential non-addictive properties and less side effects typically seen with the currently available opioid treatments. Management believes that there is an urgent need for the treatment of pain without causing addiction.

Shares of ACADIA have lost 10.3% so far this year against the industry’s increase of 0.1%.

ACADIA is focused on developing innovative medicines to address the unmet medical needs for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. With the closure of the above buyout, ACADIA plans to strengthen its pipeline for long-term growth in CNS disorders.

ACADIA’s sole marketed drug Nuplazid (pimavanserin) is the first and the only FDA-approved treatment for hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.

Nuplazid recorded sales worth $200.2 million in the first six months of 2020, reflecting a 36.9% increase year over year. Several additional studies on Nuplazid targeting different CNS indications are currently underway. A potential label expansion will boost the drug’s sales in the future quarters.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

ACADIA currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include Emergent BioSolutions Inc. EBS, Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company HZNP and QIAGEN N.V. QGEN, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Emergent’s earnings estimates have moved 62.3% and 78.8% north for 2020 and 2021, respectively, over the past 60 days. The stock has skyrocketed 129% year to date.

Horizon’s earnings estimates have been revised 60.6% and 56.5% upward for 2020 and 2021 each over the past 60 days. The stock has rallied 103.6% year to date.

QIAGEN’s earnings estimates have moved 23.2% and 34.7% north for 2020 and 2021, respectively, over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 53.2% year to date.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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