Inbrija, Inhaled Levodopa for ‘Off’ Episodes, Launches in Germany

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Inbrija, an approved treatment for “off” episodes of Parkinson’s disease, has now been launched in Germany.

The medication is being sold in Germany by Esteve Pharmaceuticals under an agreement with its developer Acorda Therapeutics. In exchange for supply of the product, Acorda will receive a significant double-digit percent of the selling price of Inbrija, in addition to additional sales-based milestones.

The two companies had previously announced an agreement for Esteve to commercialize Inbrija in Spain, with an expected commercial launch early next year. Acorda also has partnered with Biopas Laboratories to market Inbrija in Latin America.

“Esteve has a significant presence in Europe and an excellent track record of successfully commercializing neurological products there,” Kerry Clem, chief commercial officer at Acorda, said in a press release.

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Parkinson’s is caused by the death of cells in the brain that make a neurotransmitter, or nerve cell signaling molecule, called dopamine. The standard treatment for Parkinson’s is levodopa, available in different forms, which essentially works by giving the body additional raw materials with which to make dopamine. Levodopa is usually given in combination with carbidopa, which prevents levodopa from being converted into dopamine before it reaches the brain.

People on this combination of levodopa with carbidopa may still experience “off” episodes — times when symptoms are not effectively controlled between regular doses of treatment. Inbrija is a dry powder formulation of levodopa that can be inhaled to deliver a dose of levodopa more directly to the brain to help stabilize symptoms during these episodes.

Inbrija was approved in the U.S. in 2018, and in the European Union the following year. The U.S. approval was supported by findings from a clinical trial program that evaluated the therapy in about 900 people with Parkinson’s.

Data demonstrated that Inbrija treatment could ease Parkinson’s symptoms rapidly, with effects seen as soon as 10 minutes after treatment. The most common side effects associated with it included nausea, cough, and upper respiratory infections.

“We are excited that INBRIJA is now available to the people with Parkinson’s in Germany who may benefit from a new treatment to address their off periods,” Clem said.