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GEN News Highlights : Jan 8, 2013

J.P. Morgan Buzz: January 7, 2013 Update

GEN's editor-in-chief John Sterling is on the scene at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference currently going on in San Francisco. Here are some of his highlights from the meeting so far:

Ron Cohen, M.D., president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics, told the audience that over 73,000 patients with multiple sclerosis have taken the company's approved drug, Ampyra, which is intended to improve their capability to walk. The product is also in clinical trials for the treatment of cerebral palsy and for post-stroke deficits. "There is currently no drug therapy available to address functional impairment issues [ i.e., walking problems] in people six months after having a stroke."

Dr. Cohen also reported that Acorda plans to file an NDA for diazepam nasal spray which the company acquired last year from Neuronex. The indication is the treatment of acute repetitive seizures.

In addition, Acorda expects to begin a Phase I trial of its IgM remyelinating monoclonal antibody, rHlgM22, in multiple sclerosis patients during the first half of 2013. "We hope to stimulate dormant oligodendrocytes to make myelin," said Dr. Cohen.

Also, Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker, says his company is increasingly focusing on industrial and applied markets and less on the academic space. He cited U.S. budget uncertainty impacting the academic world in America and called the European academic market soft. He noted that the Chinese academic market was growing slowly. But he does view the European and Chinese academic markets as currently stronger than in the U.S.

He also sees much promise in using MRI for preclinical studies. Laukien also expects continuing growth in clinical mass spectrometry and diagnostics, "which are replacing traditional biochemical tests."