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Three Keys to ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACAD)’s Future

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ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) had a busy couple of months. The new member of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index recently completed a $150 million public offering to help push lead drug candidate pimavanserin, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease psychosis, or PDP.

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACAD)

In April, ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) shares soared over 50% when the company filed an accelerated new drug application for pimavanserin after talks with the Food and Drug Administration. The pipeline’s scant but includes areas of unmet need and an Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) partnership. What’s next for Acadia?

Here are three things to know about Acadia’s future.

1. Lead Drug

Pimavanserin’s accelerated filing pertains to PDP, but the company’s pursuing mid-stage trials for additional indications that include Alzheimer’s disease psychosis, or ADP.

Parkinson’s disease has no cure but the symptom treatments work by increasing the brain’s supply of dopamine. Pimavanserin is non-dopaminergic — meaning, it doesn’t impact dopamine levels and thus won’t interfere with primary treatment. ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) estimates that PDP occurs in up to 60% of Parkinson’s patients.

According to Decision Resources, the overall Parkinson’s treatment market will remain relatively flat over the next decade, at around $2.4 billion, due to generic competition. But pimavanserin could become the first true treatment for PDP.

Doctors currently treat the psychosis with off-label use of atypical antipsychotics. Two main drugs help the psychosis without worsening other PD symptoms: Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS)’s Clozaril and AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)’s Seroquel. But both drugs carry an FDA black box warning against use in elderly patients with dementia. And Clozaril also carries the risk of a serious blood condition.

The dementia warning also applies to ADP. Though ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) has run trials for ADP, it’s likely that doctors would use pimavanserin off-label if it’s even approved for PDP. ADP is present in up to 50% of the 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States.

2. Allergan pain collaborations

Acadia is working with Allergan on four early-stage pain projects. The group includes alpha adrenergic agonists for chronic pain and a muscarinic agonist for glaucoma.

Allergan has conducted several phase 2 trials for the adrenergic drugs that include efficacy studies in fibromyalgia. It’ll be some time before any of these trials starts turning out the kind of data worth getting excited about, but Allergan’s courting a larger partner to help move the projects further down the pipes.

The Acadia and Allergan partnership has existed for about a decade. Under the agreements, Acadia receives research funding and stands to potentially receive milestone payments and royalties should the projects succeed.

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