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Ligand Inks CNS License Agreement with Seelos Therapeutics

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND - Free Report) announced that it has granted licensing rights to four of its pipeline programs to Seelos Therapeutics, Inc., a New York-based private biopharmaceutical company.

The four programs target various central nervous system (CNS), respiratory, and pain and fever-related disorders.

The four therapeutic programs covered under the agreement include aplindore for CNS disorders, CRTH2 antagonist for respiratory disorders, acetaminophen for pain and fever-related disorders, and H3 receptor antagonist for narcolepsy. The most important candidate acquired through the latest deal is SLS-006, a phase III ready and clinically validated partial dopamine agonist for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. This would enable the company to cater to approximately 1.5 million Parkinson's disease patients in the developed countries.

Pursuant to the agreement, Ligand will receive initial payments of $1.3 million in the form of equity or cash, contingent upon a minimum financing of $7.5 million by Seelos. Ligand is entitled to receive an additional $3.5 million if Seelos becomes a public company, along with cash milestones of up to $145 million. Seelos is responsible for all development activities under the license.

Moreover, in terms of royalties, Ligand will receive 4% to 10% royalties on net sales for the licensed programs.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Ligand currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Some other favorably placed stocks in health care sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc (ANIK - Free Report) , ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANIP - Free Report) and Cambrex Corporation (CBM - Free Report) . All the three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Anika Therapeutics’ earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 were up a respective 12.6% and 14% over the last 60 days. The company has recorded a positive earnings surprise in each of the last four quarters with an average beat of 42.19%. The company’s share price has jumped 26% year to date.

ANI Pharmaceuticals witnessed an increase of 9.5% and 4.7% in its earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017, respectively, in the last 60 days. The company has posted a positive earnings surprise in two out of the last four quarters, bringing the average beat to 46.85%. The company’s share price has surged 51.6% year to date.

Over the past 60 days, Cambrex’s earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 have increased by 5.6% and 5.8%, respectively. The company has delivered a positive earnings surprise thrice in the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 19.42%. Share price of the company has gained 4.3% year to date.

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