ELITE Drug Researcher and Developer Rick Batycky of Acorda Therapeutics

Rick Batycky

Chief Technology Officer

Acorda Therapeutics

 

Advancing the Pulmonary Delivery of Drugs

Rick Batycky, PhD has devoted his professional life over the last two decades to researching and advancing the pulmonary delivery of drugs, which can reach the bloodstream quickly, bypassing the digestive track. Historically, however, this route has been limited by the small quantity of medicine that can be delivered through standard inhalation devices. But the ARCUS® platform, currently being developed by Acorda, changes the size and shape of the medicine so that a greater amount of drug can be carried by the breath into the lungs.

This platform, however, has had a long development road—it was first researched in the lab of Dr. Robert Langer at MIT over 20 years ago. Dr. Langer and Dr. David Edwards founded Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR) specifically to commercially develop the technology that would become ARCUS, and Rick was their very first hire. Since that time, Rick has been involved in relentlessly pushing forward the development of the technology.

In the mid-to-late 2000s, the program hit a snag and ARCUS was shelved. But Rick had a firm belief in the technology and in 2009 he co-founded Civitas Therapeutics with the specific intent of resurrecting ARCUS. Then in a whirlwind of activity over a three and a half year period, the company secured financial support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s, announced positive results from three separate clinical trials (both within and outside of the U.S.) raised two rounds of financing, grew the company to more than 40 employees, set up a public offering, and were acquired by Acorda. Since joining Acorda, Rick continued to champion ARCUS’ first drug, CVT-301, with the Phase 3 study announcing positive results in February 2017. As an inhalable therapy, CVT-301 may rapidly address the return of Parkinson’s symptoms, enabling patients to live better lives.

While Acorda is preparing to file for approval of CVT-301 later this year, the technology behind this product may have many other applications for different types of drugs fighting many different types of diseases. This technology would not exist today if not for Rick’s work.

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