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Ligand Pharma getting $2M payment from Merck

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday that it will get a $2 million payment from Merck & Co., which is starting a new clinical trial of a cancer drug.

Ligand said Merck is beginning a new study of the experimental drug dinaciclib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Merck is studying the drug as a treatment for several types of cancer as part of a licensing agreement with Ligand.

Including the payment Ligand now expects about $13 million in revenue in the fourth quarter, up from its previous estimate of $11 million, but it reduced its third-quarter revenue estimate by $2 million, to around $6 million. The company still expects to report about $30 million in revenue for 2012.

Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals rose 23 cents to $15.86 in afternoon trading.