Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated has entered into a strategic
relationship with Chiva Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop multiple Ligand assets
and technology in China
and potentially worldwide. Chiva is being granted licenses to begin immediate development
in China of Ligand’s two clinical-stage HepDirect programs, Pradefovir for
hepatitis B and MB01733 for hepatocellular carcinoma. Additionally, Ligand is
granting Chiva a non-exclusive HepDirect technology license for the discovery,
development and worldwide commercialization of new compounds in hepatitis B
(HepB), hepatitis C (HepC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Chiva is developing these programs to address the high unmet
medical need in China’s
fast growing pharmaceutical market. The Chinese government is offering
financial support to pharmaceutical companies like Chiva who can develop
innovative therapies in China
for public health needs such as infectious disease and oncology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ligand has the potential
to earn over $100 million in milestones and royalties on potential sales. In addition,
Ligand has the potential to receive a 10% equity position in Chiva and will
also receive an undisclosed percentage of any sublicensing revenue generated
from sublicensing of collaboration compounds to third parties in a major world
market. Ligand is entitled to receive initial 2011 license payments that total
“This strategic partnership with Chiva is a major event
as it creates our first significant opportunity to introduce Ligand’s products
and drug discovery capability in China, which is the world’s fastest-growing
pharmaceuticals market. In addition, this is a substantive transaction where we
have created new value and upside potential from recently acquired assets. Less
than a year ago, we brought into Ligand a basket of assets through our
acquisition of Metabasis, and now this deal validates our ability to leverage
our acquisitions and business platform to generate new deals and upside,” said
John L. Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals.
“The assets and technology that we have licensed to
Chiva are especially well-suited to address unmet medical needs in China.
After speaking with multiple Chinese companies about this type of alliance, we
selected Chiva based on the quality of its U.S.-trained development team.
Chiva’s leadership also includes senior scientists who have extensive
development experience with novel drugs. We look forward to a productive,
long-term relationship with Chiva, and are excited about the potential to add
development alliances throughout Asia,”