Ligand to Acquire Drug Discovery Company Vernalis, For $43M

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND), a San Diego, CA-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing or acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines, is to acquire Vernalis plc (LSE: VER), a structure-based drug discovery biotechnology company with a broad pipeline of partnered programs and ongoing collaborations.

Under the terms of the deal, Ligand would pay Vernalis shareholders £0.062 per share in cash, valuing Vernalis at approximately £32.8m, equivalent to approximately $43m.

The acquisition would provide Ligand with a portfolio of more than 8 fully-funded partnered programs, or shots on goal, including programs in the respiratory, oncology and CNS sectors (partners include Corvus, Verona, Celgene, Servier, Menarini, Tris and CTI), a 70-person R&D team based in Cambridge, England focused on fragment- and structure-based drug discovery and partnering, with an active portfolio of collaboration agreements generating over $8 million per year of service revenue (ongoing collaboration partners include Servier, Daiichi Sankyo, Lundbeck, Asahi Kasei and an undisclosed Japanese partner), an established compound library and additional early-stage, unpartnered programs in oncology, CNS and other areas that will provide business development out-licensing and corporate formation opportunities, and expected cash on hand as of June 30, 2018 of £27.3 million or approximately $36 million.



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