Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:LGND) announces that the FDA has approved a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the use of Promacta® (eltrombopag), a Novartis product, for the treatment of children six years and older with chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) who have had an insufficient response to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins or splenectomy. Promacta was approved by the FDA in 2008 for use in adult patients with the same condition4. Promacta was acquired by Novartis in March 2015 from GSK. Promacta was discovered as a result of research collaboration betweenGSK and Ligand Pharmaceuticals and developed by GSK.

ITP affects as many as 5 in 100,000 children each year2 and is characterized by a low platelet count1. Up to 30% of affected children experience persistent disease for more than 6 months and are diagnosed with cITP2,5. Pediatric patients with cITP are at ongoing risk of significant bleeding3.

The approval of Promacta was based on data from two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, including the largest Phase 3 clinical trial in this patient population. Treatment with Promacta significantly increased and sustained platelet counts among some pediatric patients with cITP, and some patients taking concomitant ITP medications were able to reduce or discontinue their use of these medications, primarily corticosteroids. Promacta should be used only in those whose degree of thrombocytopenia and clinical condition increase the risk for bleeding.

“This latest indication expansion for Promacta makes this important drug available to certain children with chronic ITP,” commentedJohn Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals. “We congratulate Novartis on this accomplishment, and we are pleased with this expansion of the Promacta brand to help more patients in need.”

Promacta is a once-daily oral thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor agonist that works by inducing stimulation and differentiation of megakaryocytes (large cells, found especially in bone marrow) from bone marrow stem cells to increase platelet production4. (Original Source)

Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $94.16 . LGND has a 1-year high of $96.95 and a 1-year low of $41.99. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $86.29 and its 200-day moving average is $68.51.

On the ratings front, Ligand Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 8, Roth Capital analyst Joseph Pantginis reiterated a Buy rating on LGND, with a price target of $135, which implies an upside of 43.4% from current levels. Separately, on May 13, Cantor Fitzgerald’s Irina Rivkind Koffler reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $86.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Joseph Pantginis and Irina Rivkind Koffler have a total average return of 9.4% and 42.5% respectively. Pantginis has a success rate of 52.8% and is ranked #210 out of 3623 analysts, while Koffler has a success rate of 67.5% and is ranked #6.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incis a biopharmaceutical company with a business model that is based upon the concept of developing or acquiring royalty revenue generating assets and coupling them with a lean corporate cost structure.