ACADIA Pharmaceuticals to Receive Funding from Fast Forward and EMD Serono for Multiple Sclerosis Program

Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/8knews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20121220:nBw205189a

Award Will Advance ACADIA`s Selective ER-Beta Agonist as a Potential New
Neuroprotective MS Therapy through Collaborative Research with UCLA
SAN DIEGO--(Business Wire)--
ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD), a biopharmaceutical company focused
on innovative treatments that address unmet medical needs in neurological and
related central nervous system disorders, today announced that it will receive
funding from Fast Forward, LLC, a not-for-profit organization established by the
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and EMD Serono, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA,
Darmstadt, Germany. This funding will support ACADIA research, to be conducted
in collaboration with Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl of UCLA, directed at using AC-186,
ACADIA`s proprietary and selective estrogen receptor (ER)-beta agonist, as a new
approach to the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). 

"We are grateful for the commitment by Fast Forward and EMD Serono, which will
enable us to expand on promising research in our ER-beta program and broaden its
application to MS," said Uli Hacksell, Ph.D., ACADIA`s Chief Executive Officer.
"We also are excited to collaborate on this research with Dr. Voskuhl, Professor
and Program Director at the UCLA Department of Neurology, who is a recognized
expert in MS and neuroprotection." 

Currently, there are multiple immunology-based, disease-modifying drugs approved
for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. In contrast, no drug is currently
approved for the treatment of progressive forms of MS and no currently available
drugs were developed to specifically target neurodegeneration in MS. A new MS
drug with neuroprotective properties would fill this major unmet medical need.
Studies in animal models of MS suggest that selective ER-beta receptor agonists
provide neuroprotective effects while avoiding stimulation of ER-alpha
receptors, which are believed to mediate toxicity. In this new program, AC-186,
a selective ER-beta agonist discovered by ACADIA, will be evaluated to further
test this hypothesis. 

Fast Forward and EMD Serono will provide up to $545,000 to support preclinical
studies with AC-186 designed to further evaluate pharmacokinetics and its
therapeutic potential in preclinical models of MS. This funding will be provided
by the parties` Accelerating Commercial DevelopmentFund, which is allocated to
for-profit entities and is designed to accelerate the development of research
discoveries into new or improved therapies for people with MS. 

"We are pleased to partner with ACADIA and UCLA on this innovative approach to
targeting MS neurodegeneration," said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research
Officer at the National MS Society and Fast Forward. "This is another example of
our steadfast commitment to seek out and support promising new therapeutic
approaches that address critical unmet needs and could improve the lives of
patients with MS." 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central
nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological
disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million people
have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS
include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with
strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common. 

About Fast Forward, LLC

Fast Forward, LLC, established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as
part of a comprehensive approach to MS research and treatment, focuses on
speeding promising research discoveries towards commercial drug development.
Fast Forward accelerates the development of treatments for MS by connecting
university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding
small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS
therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS. For more
information, please visit www.fastforward.org. 

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS
by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating
professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world,
and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their
families move their lives forward. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world
free of MS. Join the movement at www.nationalMSsociety.org. 

About ACADIA Pharmaceuticals

ACADIA is a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative treatments that
address unmet medical needs in neurological and related central nervous system
disorders. ACADIA has a pipeline of product candidates led by pimavanserin,
which is in Phase III development as a potential first-in-class treatment for
Parkinson's disease psychosis. ACADIA also has clinical-stage programs for
chronic pain and glaucoma in collaboration with Allergan, Inc. and two advanced
preclinical programs directed at Parkinson`s disease and other neurological
disorders. All product candidates are small molecules that emanate from
discoveries made at ACADIA. ACADIA maintains a website at www.acadia-pharm.com
to which ACADIA regularly posts copies of its press releases as well as
additional information and through which interested parties can subscribe to
receive email alerts. 

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature are
forward-looking statements. These statements include but are not limited to
statements related to the progress and timing of ACADIA`s drug discovery and
development programs, either alone or with a partner, the potential of and the
benefits to be derived from product candidates, in each case including AC-186,
and, specifically, the neuroprotective benefits of AC-186 for MS patients, the
expansion or broadening of ACADIA`s ER-beta program and the monies to be
received to support the development of AC-186. These statements are only
predictions based on current information and expectations and involve a number
of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from
those projected in any of such statements due to various factors, including the
risks and uncertainties inherent in drug discovery, development and
commercialization, and collaborations with others, and the fact that past
results of clinical trials may not be indicative of future trial results. For a
discussion of these and other factors, please refer to ACADIA`s annual report on
Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 as well as ACADIA`s subsequent
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to
place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of
the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements
are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and ACADIA
undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect
events or circumstances after the date hereof, except as required by law.

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Uli Hacksell, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
(858) 558-2871

Copyright Business Wire 2012