Acorda Therapeutics Expands, Plans 90 New Jobs Within Five Years

The local company employs hundreds of workers, and it’s looking for more.

When Acorda Therapeutics moved to Westchester in 1998, it was a small start-up biotech company with six employees. Today, Acorda employs 282 people at its Ardsley location, and is still growing rapidly. The company announced another expansion in March, with plans to occupy approximately 25,500 additional square feet at 440 Saw Mill River Road, in addition to its current 130,000 square-foot space next-door.

The company, which develops therapies aimed at improving the lives of people with nervous system disorders, has achieved great success with its flagship product, Ampyra, a drug that helps improve walking in people with Multiple Sclerosis. Approved by the FDA in 2010, Ampyra sales reached more than $300 million last year.

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That success has allowed Acorda to invest in additional drug development, which is driving the need for the expansion, says company spokesperson Jeff Macdonald. “We have six programs right now that are in either FDA review or clinical-trial stage, and going from a lab setting to a clinical setting requires a lot of support,” Macdonald explains.

The company’s additional space will accommodate approximately 90 new permanent employees that the company anticipates hiring over the next five years. The new jobs will be high-skill, high-wage biotechnology-related positions such as drug-safety specialists, researchers, quality-assurance staff and market-development professionals. In addition, approximately 35 to 45 full-time construction jobs will be required to complete the four- to six-month project.

This expanded corporate footprint comes thanks to incentives passed by Westchester’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which granted Acorda an exemption from 7.375 percent sales tax on $3.8 million in capital improvement costs, furniture and equipment for the duration of the construction process.

Acorda, which has been recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York for three consecutive years, is one of the anchors of Westchester’s growing health tech sector. “Acorda has been based in Westchester since 1998, and the County’s ongoing support has been critical in maintaining our headquarters in New York as we’ve grown our business,” says David Lawrence, Acorda’s Chief of Business Operations. “We are proud of our contribution to building a vibrant biotechnology presence in the area, and are committed to developing and funding community programs that further scientific education. Westchester has been our home for almost two decades, and we are excited about our future here.”

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