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Ligand licenses five programs to Viking Therapeutics

San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: LGND) announced the licensing of rights to five programs to Viking Therapeutics Inc., 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-ß (TRß) 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 under the license.

As part of this transaction, 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.

The law firm Latham & Watkins LLP represented Ligand in the transaction with a corporate team in the firm’s San Diego office consisting of partners Faye Russell and Scott Wolfe, with associate Matthew Grant, and with counsel Holly Bauer advising on employee benefits matters.

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