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Home>Ligand to Acquire Crystal Bioscience, the Leader in Chicken-derived Fully-human Antibody Generation, for $25 Million in Cash plus Additional Potential Payments

Ligand to Acquire Crystal Bioscience, the Leader in Chicken-derived Fully-human Antibody Generation, for $25 Million in Cash plus Additional Potential Payments

Ligand to Acquire Crystal Bioscience, the Leader in Chicken-derived Fully-human Antibody Generation, for $25 Million in Cash plus Additional Potential Payments

10/05/2017

Ligand to Acquire Crystal Bioscience, the Leader in Chicken-derived Fully-human Antibody Generation, for $25 Million in Cash plus Additional Potential Payments

Gains complementary antibody technology and discovery lab, new revenue streams and four fully-funded partnerships with potential for milestones and royalties

Transaction expected to be accretive to revenue and earnings beginning in 2018

Ligand’s portfolio now has more than 160 fully-funded Shots on Goal

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: LGND) and Crystal Bioscience, Inc. (Crystal) announce the signing of a merger agreement whereby Ligand will acquire Crystal, a leader in avian genetics and the generation of fully-human therapeutic antibodies. Under the terms of the agreement, Ligand will pay Crystal shareholders $25 million in cash at closing, up to an additional $10.5 million of success-based milestones, and revenue sharing from existing licensees for a defined period.

Crystal is a leader in the difficult-to-address-epitope area of antibody research with its HuMab technology, which is believed to be the world’s only chicken-based human antibody platform to successfully generate human antibodies. As part of the OmniAb® brand, HuMab technology will be called OmniChicken™. Because of the evolutionary distance between birds and mammals, chickens enable the generation of novel antibodies against targets that are not immunogenic in mammals like mice and rats, the core species of Ligand’s existing OmniAb platform. The addition of the OmniChicken platform will be complementary to Ligand’s OmniAb technology, and further solidifies Ligand’s position as the world leader in novel, transgenic antibody discovery platforms.

Crystal’s license agreements will initially add four Shots on Goal to Ligand, bringing its fully-funded programs to more than 160. It is expected that the OmniChicken technology will be utilized by some of Ligand’s existing OmniAb partners and potential new partners. Crystal’s current licensees include Boehringer Ingelheim, Alexo Therapeutics, Achaogen, and an undisclosed large pharmaceutical company, most of which are pursuing multiple targets. This transaction also provides Ligand with an in-house antibody discovery laboratory to service OmniChicken R&D needs through contracted service.

Rob Etches, PhD, DSc, a Crystal co-founder and distinguished geneticist, is expected to join Ligand as Vice President, Antibody Technologies, further strengthening Ligand’s R&D leadership in the field of antibody research. Ligand will continue to operate the 19-person Crystal organization based in Emeryville, CA.

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