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FDA OKs Ampyra To Improve Walking In Adults With Multiple Sclerosis

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday approved a new drug from Acorda Therapeutics Inc. (ACOR) to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis. The FDA said the drug, Ampyra, is the first drug approved to improve walking in MS patients. The agency said clinical trials showed patients treated with Ampyra had faster walking speeds than those treated with a placebo or fake pill. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that involves damage to nerves controlling muscles and vision; it affects about 400,000 Americans. The condition causes the body's immune system to eat away at the protective covering of the nerves, or myelin, which disrupts the electrical signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Ampyra is designed to help the body's electric signals pass through by blocking potassium ions that leak from the damaged nerves. The FDA said the product will be manufactured under licenses from Elan Corp. PLC (ELN) of Dublin, Ireland, and distributed by Acorda, Hawthorne, N.Y. Acord shares recently rose 9% to $28. -By Jennifer Corbett Dooren, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9294; jennifer.corbett@dowjones.com

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