Jim Shrine

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., said Wednesday that itwill continue development of two programs startedby Glycomed Inc., which Ligand acquired in May.

A cell adhesion modulators program forinflammation and a metalloproteinase inhibitor(MPI) program in cancer will continue to be funded.Other programs are available now as out-licensingcandidates, including Galardin, which demonstratedstatistically significant results in Phase II/III trials fortreatment of infected corneal ulcers.

Also, Ligand said Glycomed's staff is being reducedfurther, bringing the overall reduction in personnelfrom 75 in May to 42 now.

On Feb. 7 Ligand, of San Diego, agreed to acquireGlycomed, of Alameda, Calif., in a stock swapvalued, at the time, at $57 million. Glycomed had$63.5 million in cash, but also had $50 million inoutstanding convertible debentures. (See BioWorldToday, Feb. 8, 1995, p. 1.)

Susan Atkins, Ligand's vice president, corporatecommunications and investor relations, toldBioWorld Today the Galardin program is being madeavailable because Ligand is not in the ophthalmicbusiness. The other two programs are in theresearch stage.

The operations of Glycomed, a wholly owned Ligandsubsidiary, have been consolidated into one facilityin Alameda. All 42 remaining employees areinvolved in one of the two research programs.

In cell adhesion modulators, Glycomed is workingwith Sankyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, in a $10.5 millioncollaboration signed in July 1994. The three-yeardeal entails $2.7 million in annual researchpayments to Glycomed, as well as $2.5 million incash and equity investments. In exchange Sankyohas exclusive marketing rights for cell adhesionproducts in the Far East.

Company officials would not disclose details of theMPI program, nor would they discuss whatGlycomed programs are up as out-licensingcandidates. The company's focus is developingsmall molecules based on complex carbohydrates.Galardin was Glycomed's only product in the clinic.The company restructured last year after decidingto discontinue development of Astenose forrestenosis.

The combined company had about $97 million incash and investments on March 31. Atkins saidLigand expects to spend about $25 million or lessper year, giving it about four years of cash. Ligand'ssecond quarter numbers will be released next week,she said.

Wednesday's announcement was made after themarket closed. Ligand's stock (NASDAQ:LGND) wasunchanged at $9.25 Wednesday. It closed at $8.37when the deal was proposed in February. n

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.