Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) today announced that it earned a $6.5 million payment from Roche (SWX: ROG.VX; RO.S, OTCQX: RHHBY) as a result of Roche progressing RG7348 into a Phase I clinical trial for the treatment of hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection. The milestone payment arises from a 2008 collaboration and license agreement between Roche and Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. Ligand acquired Metabasis in January 2010. Ligand's net proceeds from the milestone payment will be approximately $2.3 million after paying $4.2 million to others including holders of the Ligand-issued "Roche" CVR.
“This is a great milestone for Ligand due to the cash revenue and because it validates the quality of assets we assumed through our recent acquisitions”
"This is a great milestone for Ligand due to the cash revenue and because it validates the quality of assets we assumed through our recent acquisitions," said John L. Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand. "Recently we have acquired three public companies that have contributed a vast array of partnered and pipeline assets. We are very pleased with our partnership with Roche and are excited to see their program advance to human development for HCV."
Under the 2008 collaboration and license agreement, Metabasis contributed HepDirect® liver-targeting technology to help develop prodrugs of Roche's proprietary lead nucleosides against HCV infection. Ligand is eligible to receive additional payments from Roche upon the achievement of certain further development and regulatory milestones as well as royalties on potential sales of the drug, subject to obligations to share such payments with holders of the Ligand-issued Roche CVR.