Ligand and GlaxoSmithKline Announce Expansion of Agreement

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals’ (LGND) subsidiary Icagen and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have announced plans to expand their collaboration and license agreement. The companies had initially entered into an agreement in December 2020.

The new agreement is expected to leverage Icagen’s ion-channel-based discovery technology and unique expertise in small molecule therapeutics targeting transmembrane proteins.

As per the agreement, Ligand is entitled to receive a down payment of $10 million along with $67.5 million for development and regulatory milestones. Both the companies have further agreed that upon receiving regulatory approval for their potential new medicine, Ligand is eligible for commercial milestone payments of up to $60 million at first commercial sale, and up to $120 million in sales-related milestone payments.

Whereas, GlaxoSmithKline carries exclusive option to license any identified molecules and will be responsible for the further development and commercialization of any drug candidates identified through the collaboration.

Executive Comments

Matt Foehr, President and COO of Ligand, said, “Over the past year this has been a productive relationship combining our technologies and expertise with GSK’s history of successfully working with others to access innovation and deliver next-generation transformational medicines.”

GlaxoSmithKline’s Senior Vice President, Head of Research, John Lepore, said, “Our expanded collaboration provides a framework to advance drug discovery by maximizing the strengths of our two scientific organizations to develop novel drug candidates efficiently and effectively.”

Analyst’s View

Last month, Barclays analyst Balaji Prasad maintained a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $185. This implies 22.5% upside potential to current price levels.

The stock has a Moderate Buy analyst rating based on 2 Buys. The Ligand price target of $247.50 implies upside potential of about 63.9% from current levels.

Smart Score

According to TipRanks’ Smart Score system, the stock gets a 6 out of 10, which indicates that Ligand is likely to perform in line with market averages.

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