Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) today announced the signing of a license agreement granting Cumulus Oncology exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize VER250840, a novel, oral, selective, preclinical Chk1 Kinase Inhibitor discovered using Ligand’s Vernalis Design Platform (VDP).
Under the terms of the agreement, Ligand will receive an upfront license fee, and is eligible to receive over $76 million of milestone payments and tiered royalties in the mid-to-high single digit range, depending on revenue. In addition, Ligand is eligible to receive an additional fee, payable in cash or Cumulus equity, upon Cumulus achieving specified financing-related events.
“We are pleased to be partnered with Cumulus to continue to advance the development of this important kinase target,” said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand. “Since Ligand’s acquisition of Vernalis in October of last year, the business in Cambridge has been successfully integrated and is significantly contributing to the advancement of Ligand’s Shots-on-Goal business model. VDP consists of a team of accomplished scientists servicing the needs of partners to design molecules addressing highly-challenging targets, and we expect additional partnered programs to result from their efforts over the coming months and years.”
VER250840 is a novel oral, selective Chk1 kinase inhibitor discovered using the Vernalis Design Platform (VDP). Chk1 is an important target within the DNA Damage Response (DDR) network and has been shown to play a key role in maintaining genomic integrity of cancer cells. Inhibition of Chk1 blocks cell cycle arrest and DNA repair, forcing cancer cells to undergo cell division with substantial DNA damage that results in their death. In both in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies, VER250840 has demonstrated an ability to target Chk1 in a range of different tumor types, as a single agent and in combination with several different cytotoxic agents. The clinical utility of DDR inhibitors for the treatment of cancer has recently been validated by the approval of inhibitors of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). The opportunity to select patients most likely to respond to Chk1 inhibitors exists.
Source: Company Press Release