Ligand Pharmaceuticals inks license agreement with CURx Pharmaceuticals

Companies to develop and commercialize Ligand’s Captisol-enabled Topiramate Injection for the treatment of partial onset or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures

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SAN DIEGO—Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced theestablishment of a global license agreement with CURx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. forthe development and commercialization of Ligand's Captisol-enabled TopiramateInjection for the treatment of partial onset or primary generalizedtonic-clonic seizures in epilepsy patients who cannot take oral topiramate. Perthe terms of the agreement, Ligand is eligible to receive more than $21 millionif certain milestones are met, as well as net royalties on future sales of 6percent to 7.5 percent.
"We are delighted to sign a licensing agreement with Ligandand plan to bring Captisol-enabled Topiramate Injection to our patients as soonas possible," Dinu Sen, founder and CEO of CURx, said in a press releaseregarding the deal. "In Phase I trials in healthy volunteers and patients atthe University of Minnesota, the product demonstrated a faster onset of actionthan the orally administered drug. Our market research indicates there to be atremendous need for a product with these characteristics."
Captisol is a chemically modified cyclodextrin designed tooptimize the solubility and stability of drugs, and originated in thelaboratories of Dr. Valentino Stella at the University of Kansas' HiguchiBiosciences Center for specific use in drug development and formulation. Ligandannounced that its Captisol-enabled Topiramate Injection was granted orphandrug designation on July 26.
"This is another great deal for Ligand and our Captisoltechnology, pairing our proven formulation agent with an approved medicine tocreate a potentially novel, important and highly differentiated drug," JohnHiggins, president and CEO of Ligand, commented in a statement. "We are verypleased to be entering this agreement. CURx is highly motivated to advancedevelopment, with current plans calling for a Phase II trial to commence in2014. This deal represents our latest addition to our growing pipeline ofpartnerships and another potentially lucrative shot-on-goal."
The agreement with CURx Pharmaceuticals comes less than amonth after Ligand announced two other industry agreements. On July 22, Ligandannounced the signing of a global license agreement with Azure Biotech, Inc. todevelop a novel formulation of lasofoxifene to target an underserved market inwomen's health. Lasofoxifene is an estrogen partial agonist for osteoporosistreatment that resulted from a research collaboration between Ligand and Pfizerthat originated in 1991. Two days later, Ligand announced that it had alsosigned a license agreement with Ethicor Pharma Ltd. to manufacture anddistribute the oral formulation of lasofoxifene in the European economic area,Switzerland and the Indian subcontinent.
SOURCE: Ligand press release

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