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25 Feb 2013

Ligand receives milestone payment in development of RE-021

Development of the clinical candidate RE-021 is being handled by Retrophin, which also has commercialisation rights.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals has received a $1.4 million (£930,000) milestone payment from Retrophin, thanks to a licensing agreement between the two firms for the development and commercialisation of its clinical candidate RE-021.

Under the terms of the agreement, signed in February 2012, Ligand received payment for the drug, which is currently in development for the treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease that attacks the kidneys and can ultimately lead to organ failure.

Most patients with the condition are diagnosed as children or young adults. Retrophin expects to begin enrolment in Phase 2 Clinical Trials for RE-021 during the first half of this year.

John Higgins, president and chief executive of Ligand, said: "We are impressed with Retrophin's continued business success and look forward to the initiation of the Phase 2 Trial of RE-021.

"FSGS is an orphan disease with significant unmet medical need and no currently approved therapies."

He added that RE-021 boasts a "compelling therapeutic profile" and has the potential to become an important treatment for the rare condition.

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