Ligand Enters Into Worldwide OmniAb Platform License Agreement With xCella Biosciences

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:LGND) announces it has entered into a worldwide license agreement with Menlo Park, California-based xCella Biosciences, Inc. Under the license, xCella will be able to use the OmniRat®, OmniMouse® and OmniFlic® platforms to discover fully human mono- and bispecific antibodies. Ligand is eligible to receive annual platform access payments, development and regulatory milestone payments and royalties for each product incorporating an OmniAb antibody. xCella will be responsible for all costs related to the programs.

“This agreement provides xCella with access to the OmniAb platform, an industry-leading technology for the discovery of fully-human antibodies,” said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand. “There continues to be strong partnership interest for the OmniAb platform within the antibody-discovery community, and Ligand plans to continue to efficiently leverage the technology to generate fully-funded shots on goal.”

About xCella Biosciences

xCella is a protein engineering and drug discovery company based on intellectual property originally developed at Stanford University in the Stanford Photonics Research Center and the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Cochran in the Stanford Department of Bioengineering. xCella’s proprietary platform enables high throughput screening and engineering of proteins based on functional activity, presenting unprecedented opportunities for the creation of novel therapeutics and other protein-based assets. In addition to its internal drug discovery program, xCella has entered into partnership agreements with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop best in-class protein-based assets in key strategic areas of interest.

About OmniAb®

OmniAb includes three transgenic animal platforms for producing mono- and bispecific human therapeutic antibodies. OmniRat® is the industry’s first human monoclonal antibody technology based on rats. It has a complete immune system with a diverse antibody repertoire and generates antibodies with human idiotypes as effectively as wild-type animals make rat antibodies. OmniMouse® is a transgenic mouse that complements OmniRat and expands epitope coverage. OmniFlic® is an engineered rat with a fixed light chain for development of bispecific, fully human antibodies. The three platforms use patented technology, have broad freedom to operate and deliver fully human antibodies with high affinity, specificity, expression, solubility and stability.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing or acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. Our business model creates value for stockholders by providing a diversified portfolio of biotech and pharmaceutical product revenue streams that are supported by an efficient and low corporate cost structure. Our goal is to offer investors an opportunity to participate in the promise of the biotech industry in a profitable, diversified and lower-risk business than a typical biotech company. Our business model is based on doing what we do best: drug discovery, early-stage drug development, product reformulation and partnering. We partner with other pharmaceutical companies to leverage what they do best (late-stage development, regulatory management and commercialization) to ultimately generate our revenue. Ligand’s Captisol® platform technology is a patent-protected, chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. OmniAb® is a patent-protected transgenic animal platform used in the discovery of fully human mono-and bispecific therapeutic antibodies. Ligand has established multiple alliances, licenses and other business relationships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Celgene, Gilead, Janssen, Baxter International and Eli Lilly.

Follow Ligand on Twitter @Ligand_LGND.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements by Ligand that involve risks and uncertainties and reflect Ligand’s judgment as of the date of this release. These include statements regarding Ligand’s license agreement with xCella under which Ligand may receive annual platform access payments, milestone payments and royalties (which, as used herein includes royalty-like payments based upon the development and commercialization of any products based on antibodies discovered under the license). Actual events or results may differ from our expectations. For example, there can be no assurances that xCella will successfully develop or market any antibodies discovered under the license. The failure to meet expectations with respect to any of the foregoing matters may reduce Ligand’s stock price. Additional information concerning these and other important risk factors affecting Ligand can be found in Ligand’s prior press releases available at as well as in Ligand’s public periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available at Ligand disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements beyond the date of this press release, except as required by law. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

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