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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (LGND - Free Report) Investigational New Drug (IND) application for its Glucagon Receptor Antagonist program with LGD-6972 was accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients suffering from type II diabetes. The incidence of diabetes is on a rise across the globe.

Ligand Pharma will commence phase I studies on the candidate by year end. It is an unpartnered program and the company has plans to find a partner after phase I study.

Ligand Pharma presented positive pre-clinical data on LGD-6972 at the American Diabetes Association in Jun 2012. The pre-clinical studies revealed significant glucose lowering activity by the candidate. The data showed that the highly potent and selective LGD-6972 inhibits glucagon-induced hyperglycemia in both rats and monkeys and lowers glucose in a mouse model of type II diabetes. Studies also showed robust pharmacokinetics. 

In Jun 2013, Ligand Pharma had announced positive data from preclinical studies of LGD-6972, revealing significant glucose lowering activity in an animal model of type I diabetes. 

Ligand Pharma was in the news earlier this month, when Duavee received FDA approval for the treatment of moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause and the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Duavee was developed by Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) , and is part of research collaboration with Ligand Pharma. As per the agreement, Ligand Pharma received milestone payment of $425,000 for this approval.

Ligand Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Roche Holding (RHHBY - Free Report) and Actelion Ltd. look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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