In a Jan. 16 research note, H.C. Wainwright & Co. analyst Joseph Pantginis reported that Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LGND:NASDAQ) kicked off the year with news of entering into a global licensing agreement with Pandion Therapeutics pertaining to Ligand's OmniAb antibody discovery platform. The "agreement might accelerate drug discovery at Pandion and generate additional revenue streams to Ligand in the future," Pantginis added.
The agreement allows Pandion to deploy the platform, which encompasses OmniRat, OmniFlic, OmniMouse, OmniChicken and OmniClic, to develop new therapeutics. In exchange, Ligand might receive an upfront access fee, development and regulatory milestone payments and potential royalties on product sales.
Now, Ligand's OmniAb is licensed is to more than 40 corporate partners and "should progressively gain attention with growing news flow and developments," commented Pantginis.
In other news, Pantginis relayed that Ligand's partner Verona reported positive data from its Phase 2b dose-ranging study (0.375, 0.75, 1.5 and 3 milligrams), evaluating nebulized ensifentrine in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In this 416-patient study, all primary endpoints were met at all doses. Secondary endpoints also were recorded. The therapeutic was well tolerated with adverse effects being on par with those experienced with the placebo.
Verona has a post phase 2 meeting with the FDA scheduled for Q2/20 to discuss how to move forward. "The idea is to progress the program into Phase 3 trials, which could commence in Q3/20," noted the analyst.
Finally, Pantginis highlighted that whereas Ligand continues to deliver on its business model, it remains undervalued. The company continues to develop future revenue streams and shareholder value through its shots-on-goal business strategy. "Ligandís assets, both in-house and from partners, are positively advancing towards the clinic and may reach a certain investment verdict promptly."
H.C. Wainwright & Co. has a Buy rating and a $214 per share target price on Ligand, whose stock is currently trading at around $89.76 per share.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from H. C. Wainwright, Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., Company Update, January 16, 2020
Investment Banking Services include, but are not limited to, acting as a manager/co-manager in the underwriting or placement of securities, acting as financial advisor, and/or providing corporate finance or capital markets-related services to a company or one of its affiliates or subsidiaries within the past 12 months.
I, Joseph Pantginis, Ph.D., certify that 1) all of the views expressed in this report accurately reflect my personal views about any and all subject securities or issuers discussed; and 2) no part of my compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation or views expressed in this research report; and 3) neither myself nor any members of my household is an officer, director or advisory board member of these companies.
None of the research analysts or the research analyst's household has a financial interest in the securities of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (including, without limitation, any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position).
As of December 31, 2019 neither the Firm nor its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Neither the research analyst nor the Firm has any material conflict of interest in of which the research analyst knows or has reason to know at the time of publication of this research report.
The research analyst principally responsible for preparation of the report does not receive compensation that is based upon any specific investment banking services or transaction but is compensated based on factors including total revenue and profitability of the Firm, a substantial portion of which is derived from investment banking services.
The Firm or its affiliates did not receive compensation from Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for investment banking services within twelve months before, but will seek compensation from the companies mentioned in this report for investment banking services within three months following publication of the research report.
The Firm does not make a market in Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as of the date of this research report.
H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC and its affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, excluding its analysts, will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell, the securities or derivatives (including options and warrants) thereof of covered companies referred to in this research report.