Ligand Pharmaceuticals has licensed the rights to five programs to Viking Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel, first-in-class or best-in-class therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders.
The therapeutic programs covered in the license agreement include Ligand's FBPase inhibitor program for type 2 diabetes, a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) program for muscle wasting, a Thyroid Hormone Receptor-β (TRβ) Agonist program for dyslipidemia, an Erythropoietin Receptor (EPOR) Agonist program for anemia and an Enterocyte-Directed Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase-1 (DGAT-1) Inhibitor program for dyslipidemia. The FBPase Inhibitor program was the subject of an option originally granted to Viking in 2012.
Each licensed program includes a fee to be paid to Ligand in Viking equity at the time of a private or public financing, milestone payments and royalties on future net sales. Viking is responsible for all development activities. Ligand has agreed to extend a $2.5 million convertible loan facility to Viking that can be used to pay Viking’s operating and financing-related expenses.
"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 CEO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals.
"Our objective is to establish proof-of-concept and solid initial data packages, and then to partner with companies that are well-positioned to manage advanced clinical and regulatory development,” said Higgins.
Brian Lian, president and CEO of Viking Therapeutics, said, “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, as our team has an extensive history in diabetes and endocrine drug development, including two recent drug approvals.”