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Ligand To Receive $2 Million Milestone Payment From Merck Triggered By Initiation Of Phase 2b/3 Trial Of Dinaciclib

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) today announced that it will receive a $2 million milestone payment from Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, under the terms of a development and license collaboration for the development of dinaciclib. This milestone payment is triggered by the initiation of a Phase 2b/3 adaptive clinical trial for dinaciclib for the treatment of patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

“We are pleased with dinaciclib's progress for the treatment of refractory CLL, as we feel it holds significant potential in oncology,” commented John Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand. “Today’s announcement reinforces the strength of Ligand’s business model, which is focused on drug discovery with a goal of entering high quality collaborations to advance candidates through late-stage development.”

Full Year 2012 Revenue Forecast

Affirming its previous revenue forecast, Ligand continues to expect full year 2012 total revenues to be approximately $30 million, with revenue in the third quarter now projected to be approximately $6 million, versus earlier guidance of approximately $8 million, and revenue in the fourth quarter now projected to be approximately $13 million, versus earlier guidance of approximately $11 million.

About Dinaciclib and Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Dinaciclib is a pro-apoptotic inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases being evaluated by Merck in a Phase 2b/3 clinical trial for the potential treatment of patients with refractory CLL. CLL is a slow-progressing disease, affecting the blood and bone marrow, as well as the lymph nodes or other organs, and is the most common type of leukemia affecting adults 1. Dinaciclib is derived from a collaboration initiated in 1998 by Pharmacopeia (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ligand). More information about the trial can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand is a biopharmaceutical company that develops and acquires assets it believes will generate royalty revenues and, under its lean corporate cost structure, produce sustainable profitability. Ligand has a diverse asset portfolio addressing the unmet medical needs of patients for a broad spectrum of diseases including thrombocytopenia, multiple myeloma, diabetes, hepatitis, muscle wasting, dyslipidemia, anemia, and osteoporosis. Ligand’s Captisol ® platform technology is a patent protected, chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Ligand has established multiple alliances with the world's leading pharmaceutical companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Company, Baxter International, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck Inc., The Medicines Company, Curis, Inc. and Rib-X Pharmaceuticals. Please visit www.captisol.com for more information on Captisol. For more information on Ligand, please visit www.ligand.com.

Follow Ligand on Twitter @Ligand_LGND.

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