Acorda, Chance enter agreement to sell Inbrija in China

Regulatory approval is needed before the therapy can be made available

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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Acorda Therapeutics has entered into an agreement with Chance Pharmaceuticals for Inbrija (levodopa inhalation powder), a medication used to treat symptoms during off episodes in Parkinson’s disease, to become available in China.

Parkinson’s is a growing problem in China due to the country’s aging population; by 2030, it’s estimated that 5 million people in China will have the disease.

“Our agreement with Chance is an important milestone toward providing Inbrija to the world’s largest population of people with Parkinson’s,” Ron Cohen, MD, president and CEO of Acorda, said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chance will pay an initial $2.5 million to Acorda for the rights to sell Inbrija in the country. Then, if Chance hits certain milestones, they will pay Acorda up to an additional $141.5 million.

Chance wants to start selling Inbrija in China as soon as it can, but the company first needs to get regulatory approval from the authorities.

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“The Chance team are experts in inhalation technologies, and we look forward to working with them to achieve regulatory approval and to provide this important medication in China,” Cohen added.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s occur when there isn’t enough dopamine, a chemical  important for controlling movement, in the brain. Levodopa is a medication that can convert into dopamine in the brain.

It’s usually used together with carbidopa, which can stop the body from breaking down levodopa too quickly. By doing this, more levodopa can reach the brain to restore the levels of dopamine.

But over time, the response to levodopa may not last as long as it used to. This means the benefits of the medication may wear off before it’s time for the next dose and symptoms may return between doses. As Parkinson’s gets worse, this can happen more often, causing motor fluctuations.

These off episodes can “have a significant impact on the lives of those living with Parkinson’s and their families, and we are proud to be working to bring a new treatment option to this community with unmet medical needs,” said Donghao Chen, PhD, founder and CEO of Chance.

Inbrija is available as a capsule containing a powder levodopa formulation for inhalation via a specialized hand-held inhaler. Because it’s inhaled, it can supply some additional levodopa rapidly to the bloodstream whenever people with Parkinson’s need it during an off period.

The therapy is approved for reducing off episodes in Parkinson’s patients who are being treated with carbidopa/levodopa in the U.S., Europe, and other regions. Acorda has previously entered into agreements with other companies to sell Inbrija in regions other than the U.S.