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Ligand Licenses VER250840 to Cumulus Oncology

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) today
announced the signing of a license agreement granting Cumulus Oncology
exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize VER250840, a
novel, oral, selective, preclinical Chk1 Kinase Inhibitor discovered
using Liganda??s Vernalis Design Platform (VDP). Under the terms of the
agreement, Ligand will receive an upfront license fee, and is eligible
to receive over $76 million of milestone payments and tiered royalties
in the mid-to-high single digit range, depending on revenue. In
addition, Ligand is eligible to receive an additional fee, payable in
cash or Cumulus equity, upon Cumulus achieving specified
financing-related events.


"We are pleased to be partnered with Cumulus to continue to advance the
development of this important kinase target,a?? said John Higgins, Chief
Executive Officer of Ligand. "Since Liganda??s acquisition of Vernalis in
October of last year, the business in Cambridge has been successfully
integrated and is significantly contributing to the advancement of
Liganda??s Shots-on-Goal business model. VDP consists of a team of
accomplished scientists servicing the needs of partners to design
molecules addressing highly-challenging targets, and we expect
additional partnered programs to result from their efforts over the
coming months and years.a??


About VER250840


VER250840 is a novel oral, selective Chk1 kinase inhibitor discovered
using the Vernalis Design Platform (VDP). Chk1 is an important target
within the DNA Damage Response (DDR) network and has been shown to play
a key role in maintaining genomic integrity of cancer cells. Inhibition
of Chk1 blocks cell cycle arrest and DNA repair, forcing cancer cells to
undergo cell division with substantial DNA damage that results in their
death. In both in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies,
VER250840 has demonstrated an ability to target Chk1 in a range of
different tumor types, as a single agent and in combination with several
different cytotoxic agents. The clinical utility of DDR inhibitors for
the treatment of cancer has recently been validated by the approval of
inhibitors of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). The opportunity to
select patients most likely to respond to Chk1 inhibitors exists.


About the Vernalis Design Platform (VDP)


Vernalis (R&D) Limited is a Ligand subsidiary based in Cambridge, UK,
and is a world leader in structure-guided drug discovery. The Vernalis
Design Platform (VDP) integrates protein structure determination and
engineering, fragment screening and molecular modeling, with medicinal
chemistry, to enable success in novel drug discovery programs against
highly-challenging targets. A key element to the success of VDP is
establishing a robust platform for drug discovery for each target to
validate hit identification using multiple proprietary assay and
biophysical systems. Vernalis has collaborations across many therapeutic
areas, including oncology, CNS, anti-infectives and inflammation, with
global partners and a heritage of successful internal drug discovery in
oncology and anti-infectives.
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