Ligand Lifts ’13 Outlook; Signs A License Deal

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. signed a global licensing and supply deal with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop Ligand’s Captisol-enabled melphalan for use as part of multiple myeloma transplant programs, a deal potentially valued at more than $53 million.

Ligand also raised its guidance for the year as it projected better-than-expected first-quarter results.

Under the deal, Ligand will receive a $3 million licensing fee, potential milestone payments of more than $50 million and royalties on sales from any products that reach the market.

The company now expects 2013 per-share earnings of 47 cents to 51 cents on revenue of $43 million to $46 million, up from its prior estimate for 35 cents to 39 cents and revenue of $41 million to $44 million.

For the current quarter, the company forecast per-share earnings of 10 cents to 13 cents on revenue of $10 million to $11 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently expected a per-share loss of a penny and revenue of $8 million.

Spectrum, meanwhile, said it will assume responsibility for the ongoing pivotal clinical trial and for filing a new drug application, which is anticipated in the first half of 2014 with potential commercial launch the following year.

Ligand shares closed Wednesday at $21.86 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 35% in the past year.

Posted by Tess Stynes, Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2013