Ligand, CURx Collaborate

Zacks

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND) recently entered into a worldwide development and commercialization agreement with CURx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the former’s Captisol-enabled topiramate injection. The candidate will be developed for the treatment of partial onset or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in hospitalized epileptics who cannot take the oral form of topiramate.

Under this deal, Ligand could receive more than $21 million on the achievement of milestones and will receive royalties of 6% to 7.5% on future sales.

Currently, topiramate is only available in the oral form and is marketed as Topamax by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Captisol-enabled topiramate injection was granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) in Jul 2013. CURx intends to commence a phase II study next year.

We note that Ligand has been significantly involved in collaboration activities in 2013.

Ligand signed a major deal in Mar 2013 by entering into an agreement with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SPPI). Following the deal, Spectrum Pharma acquired global development and commercialization rights to Ligand’s Captisol-enabled, propylene glycol-free (PG-free) melphalan. Captisol-enabled melphalan is currently being developed as a conditioning treatment before autologous stem cell transplant for patients suffering from multiple myeloma.

Ligand will receive a license fee, milestone payments and royalties from Spectrum Pharma following the potential commercialization of the candidate. Spectrum Pharma is now responsible for the ongoing pivotal clinical study on the candidate.

Continuing with its collaboration spree, Ligand joined forces with Azure Biotech for the development of a novel formulation of lasofoxifene in Jul 2013. This novel formulation targets an underserved market in the field of women's health.

Under this deal, Ligand will receive $2.7 million on the achievement of future development and regulatory milestones. Further royalty payments of 5% on future net sales will also be paid to Ligand.

Currently, Ligand carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies which look attractive include Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) and Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 

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