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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) announces the signing of a global license agreement with Azure Biotech for the development of a novel formulation of lasofoxifene targeting an underserved market in women's health. Under the terms of the agreement, Ligand is entitled to receive $2.7 million in potential development and regulatory milestones and a 5% royalty on future net sales. Also under this agreement, Ligand retains rights to the oral formulation originally developed by Pfizer.
“Lasofoxifene has a promising profile, and we are excited to see it move forward in development,” commented John Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand. “The team at Azure is highly motivated and well-positioned to advance lasofoxifene, and we look forward to working with them on this important program. This transaction represents yet another milestone for Ligand as we continue to build our portfolio of partnered programs and reinforces the strength of our business model.”
“The Azure team is excited to undertake the development of lasofoxifene in a new area of high medical need. Azure plans to rapidly build upon the extensive safety and efficacy data already available from trials completed in more than 15,000 women,” stated Dr. David Thompson, President of Azure.
Lasofoxifene is an estrogen partial agonist for osteoporosis treatment and other diseases that was discovered through the research collaboration between Ligand and Pfizer that began in 1991. The oral, 0.5 mg form of lasofoxifene tartrate was developed by Pfizer under the trade name Fablyn
®, and progressed through regulatory approval in the EU. After Pfizer acquired Conbriza
® (bazedoxifene), a similar SERM program, from its acquisition of Wyeth, rights to all forms of lasofoxifene reverted to Ligand in early 2011.
About Azure Biotech
Azure Biotech, Inc. is a newly formed biotechnology company uniquely qualified to bring lasofoxifene forward for targeted new indications and formulations. The firm is led by seasoned pharmaceutical executives, including Dr. Thompson, who directed the Pfizer team in the discovery of lasofoxifene through Phase 3 development and regulatory filings.