Ligand and GSK Enter Global Collaboration and License Agreement Leveraging Icagen’s Discovery Technology to Target Neurological Disorders

IndustryPRwire - Ligand Pharmaceuticals announced a collaboration and license agreement between its subsidiary, Icagen, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to leverage Icagen’s unique expertise in small molecule therapeutics targeting transmembrane proteins. This collaboration will utilize the Icagen discovery technology to identify and develop inhibitors of a specific genetically-validated molecular target relevant to neurological diseases.

“We are very pleased to partner with a global pharmaceutical company like GSK with an ambitious innovation agenda,” said Matt Foehr, President and COO of Ligand. “This agreement fits perfectly within the Ligand strategy to establish and leverage partnerships with industry leaders as they access our technologies and expertise for their drug-discovery needs. GSK has also recognized that great ideas come from relationships like this one and they have a history of successfully working with others to access innovation and deliver next-generation transformational medicines.”

“Central to GSK’s innovation agenda is working with cutting-edge partners to help us develop genetically-validated, transformational medicines in ways that are faster and more effective,” said John Lepore, Senior Vice President, Research, GSK. “Ligand’s unique model systems and depth of expertise will enable our team to advance this drug-discovery program with a higher probability of success and may help deliver a new treatment option for patients suffering from neurological disease.”

Under the terms of the collaboration and license agreement, Ligand will receive an upfront payment of $7 million. Ligand could receive additional development, regulatory and commercialization milestone payments, conditional on meeting those milestones, of up to $154.5 million. Ligand will receive tiered royalties on net sales of any drug from the collaboration that is commercialized by GSK.

Ligand will be responsible for most preclinical activities up to lead optimization, with Ligand and GSK collaborating to identify candidates for entry into IND-enabling studies. GSK has the exclusive option to license any identified inhibitors and will be responsible for the further development and commercialization of any drug candidates identified through the collaboration. Ligand acquired Icagen in April 2020, adding enabling technologies to its business offering that will support this collaborative drug-discovery program.

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