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FDA Approves ACADIA Pharmaceuticals’ NUPLAZID™ (pimavanserin) - The First Drug Approved for the Treatment of Hallucinations and Delusions Associated with Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

SAN DIEGO, Apr 29, 2016 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. ACAD, -0.31% a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative medicines to address unmet medical needs in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved NUPLAZID (pimavanserin) for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis. In 2014, the FDA designated NUPLAZID as a Breakthrough Therapy for this condition.

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“Today’s approval of NUPLAZID represents a major paradigm shift in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease psychosis,” said Michael S. Okun, M.D., Medical Director of The National Parkinson Foundation. “Through its novel and selective mechanism of action, NUPLAZID is a breakthrough treatment that works in a whole new way - treating hallucinations and delusions without blocking dopamine receptors and, therefore, not impairing motor function in Parkinson’s psychosis patients.”

NUPLAZID is the first and only medicine to be approved by the FDA for this indication. NUPLAZID is also the only drug approved by the FDA that preferentially targets 5-HT2A receptors. These receptors are thought to play an important role in Parkinson’s disease psychosis. The unique pharmacology of NUPLAZID establishes a new class of drug - selective serotonin inverse agonists (SSIA) - by not only preferentially targeting 5-HT2A receptors but also avoiding activity at dopamine and other receptors commonly targeted by antipsychotics. Typical Parkinson’s disease therapy consists of drugs that stimulate dopamine to treat patients’ motor symptoms such as tremor, muscle rigidity and difficulty with walking. NUPLAZID does not interfere with patients’ dopaminergic therapy and therefore does not impair their motor function.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, about one million people in the United States and from four to six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. An estimated 40 percent of these patients have Parkinson’s disease psychosis, which is characterized by hallucinations and delusions, is associated with significant caregiver burden, and is a major reason for nursing home placement among Parkinson’s patients.

“NUPLAZID represents a major medical advancement for patients with Parkinson’s disease psychosis who suffer from hallucinations and delusions,” said Steve Davis, ACADIA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to the many patients and investigators who participated in NUPLAZID’s clinical studies. NUPLAZID represents the culmination of many years of work across our entire organization to bring this novel medicine, discovered by our scientists, to patients in need.”

“Parkinson’s disease psychosis is a debilitating condition that adds a tremendous burden on the lives of patients already contending with motor issues such as slow movement, loss of balance, and muscle rigidity,” said Todd Sherer, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “It also places an increased burden on caregivers and can lead to loss of independence and nursing home admittance for patients. A therapy to treat the hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis without worsening motor symptoms can significantly impact the lives of Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones.”