On February 28, 2017 Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) reported that it has expanded its license with Sermonix Pharmaceuticals to include worldwide rights to develop and commercialize oral lasofoxifene. Ligand originally licensed the U.S. rights to oral lasofoxifene to Sermonix in February of 2015, and has now expanded the agreement to include the rest of the world (Press release, Ligand, FEB 28, 2017, View Source [SID1234532255]). Sermonix is focused on breast and ovarian cancer treatment with oral lasofoxifene, particularly an indication in the treatment of advanced Estrogen Receptor positive (ER+) endocrine-resistant breast cancer.

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"Lasofoxifene is an asset with a rich heritage originating at Ligand and with a substantial set of global clinical data. This agreement with Sermonix represents an expansion of our relationship and enables further development of oral lasofoxifene on a worldwide basis," said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals. "This amendment includes an upfront payment, additional commercial milestones and 6% to 10% royalties on ex-US sales and is consistent with our shots-on-goal business model of partnering the development of our assets to create a robust pipeline with limited required R&D spending by Ligand."

About Lasofoxifene and Ligand’s Lasofoxifene Partnerships

Lasofoxifene was discovered through a 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 Wyeth and its drug Conbriza (bazedoxifene), a similar SERM program, rights to all forms of lasofoxifene reverted to Ligand in 2011. In 2013 Ligand licensed lasofoxifene to Azure Biotech for the development of a novel formulation targeting an underserved market in women’s health. Also in 2013, Ligand licensed to Ethicor Pharmaceuticals Ltd rights to manufacture and distribute oral lasofoxifene as an unlicensed medicinal product in the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the Indian Subcontinent. Ligand and Ethicor mutually terminated that agreement in early 2017.