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Acadia surges on Parkinson's psychosis drug study

Shares of Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ACAD) more than doubled to their highest price in more than three years Tuesday after the company said its drug pimavanserin reduced psychosis in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Acadia said pimavanserin was more effective than a placebo in treating the condition. Patients who took the drug also slept better at night, were more awake during the day, and were less of a burden to caregivers.

Acadia shares gained $3.40 to $5.70 in morning trading. Earlier the stock peaked at $6.54, its highest price since August 2009. The shares closed at $2.30 on Monday.

In the late-stage trial, 199 patients took either 40 milligrams of pimavanserin or a placebo once a day for six weeks. The most common side effects of pimavanserin in the study were urinary tract infections and falling. Acadia says up to 60 percent of Americans with Parkinson's disease develop psychosis and there is no approved therapy to treat the condition. The company said anti-psychotic drugs are sometimes used to treat the condition, but those drugs can increase the risk of death as well as side effects like the loss of motor control. Acadia said pimavanserin did not affect patients' motor control.

The San Diego company does not have any approved drugs and pimavanserin is Acadia's most advanced experimental product. The company is also running midstage trials of the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia and for psychosis in Alzheimer's disease. Acadia is also testing treatments for chronic pain and glaucoma.

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