Ligand Pharmaceuticals has licensed the rights to five programs to Viking Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharma company focused on the development of therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders. As part of this transaction, Ligand will extend a $2.5 million convertible loan to Viking that can be used to pay Viking’s operating and finance expenses. Ligand will receive a fee for each program, milestone payments and royalties on future sales. Viking is responsible for all development activities under the license.
The therapeutic programs include Ligand's FBPase inhibitor for type 2 diabetes, a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) program for muscle wasting, a Thyroid Hormone Receptor-β (TRβ) Agonist for dyslipidemia, an Erythropoietin Receptor (EPOR) Agonist for anemia, and an Enterocyte-Directed Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase-1 (DGAT-1) Inhibitor program for dyslipidemia.
"This is a creative licensing transaction that combines a bold portfolio of early- and mid-stage assets with a company that can advance these programs to major inflection points in the near-term. Viking’s programs have the potential to generate substantial news flow over the next 12 to 24 months and to be the basis for important new drugs in major therapeutic categories," said John Higgins, president and chief executive officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals.
“Along with our partners at Ligand, we have created through this license an excellent vehicle to develop several promising new therapies for patients, while unlocking potential value for stakeholders,” said Brian Lian, president and chief executive officer of Viking. “Each of the licensed programs has what we believe to be first-in-class or best-in-class characteristics and a differentiated therapeutic profile. Importantly, the portfolio fits well within Viking’s focus.”