Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. secured rights to market a light-activated cancer drug, called Photofrin, in Canada from its maker,Quadra Logic Technologies Inc.

Financial terms of the 10-year agreement were not disclosed. QuadraLogic, of Vancouver, Canada, will supply the drug and Ligand, ofSan Diego will sell it.

Ligand will make a modest up-front payment for the rights and willpay three additional milestone fees based on sales. The companiesalso agreed to share revenues.

David Main, Quadra Logic's director of corporate communicationsand investor relations, said last week specific terms of the agreementwere not disclosed to avoid influencing current negotiations for aU.S. marketing partner.

Photofrin is on the market in Canada for treatment of superficialbladder cancer and is under review for esophageal cancer. The drugalso is approved in Japan for lung, esophageal and cervical cancersand in the Netherlands for lung and esophageal cancers. QuadraLogic filed a new drug application with the FDA for Photofrin inApril 1994 and the FDA's Oncology Drug Advisory Committeesubsequently recommended approval.

American Cyanamid has rights to sell Photofrin in Europe and Japan.Quadra Logic last year re-acquired rights from American Cyanamidto market the drug in the U.S. and Canada. Under the marketingagreement with American Cyanamid, Quadra Logic would havereceived 32.5 percent of revenues for sales in Canada.

Peter Ginsberg, an analyst with Vector Securities International Inc.,of Deerfield, Ill., said the pact with Ligand will give Quadra Logicmore than 32.5 percent of revenues and the percentage will increaseover the next five years. Ginsberg estimated annual sales of Photofrinin Canada at between $7 million and $10 million.

Ligand also is among companies negotiating with Quadra Logic forU.S. marketing rights, however, Ligand apparently is at adisadvantage because of its lack of a U.S. sales force.

Photofrin is administered by injection and is carried by lipoproteinsto cancerous tumors, which have three to four times the concentrationof lipoproteins than normal tissue. When the drug is activated withphotodynamic therapy, it produces toxic oxygen compounds that aredesigned to destroy the tumor.

Photofrin is the second cancer drug Ligand will market in Canada.The company secured rights from Chiron Corp., of Emeryville,Calif., to sell Proleukin for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Proleukinis on the market in the U.S. and was approved for sale in Canada lastSeptember. Projected Canadian revenues for Proleukin are about $5million a year.

Ligand is expected to begin selling both Proleukin and Photofrinwithin six months. The products represent the company's firstmarketable drugs. They are part of Ligand's effort to acquireoncology and women's health products to generate revenue while thecompany develops its own oncology drugs.

In addition to providing income, Ginsberg said the strategy shouldfacilitate "a smooth launch" of Ligand's proprietary cancer products.

Ligand (NADAQ:LGND) closed Monday at $6.87, down 12 cents.Quadra Logic (NASDAQ:QLTIF) was off 9 cents to $5.75. n

-- Charles Craig

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

No Comments