BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Announces Inducement Grants Under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

Ligand Pharmaceuticals | August 02, 2022 | Read time : 02:00 min

Ligand Pharmaceuticals
Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated announced that effective August 1, 2022, Ligand’s Board of Directors approved the grant of non-qualified stock option awards to purchase an aggregate of 90,073 shares of its common stock, 5,000 restricted stock units and 4,000 performance stock units the target level to six non-executive employees. The options were granted on August 1, 2022, and the grant date for the RSUs and the PSUs will be the date on which Ligand files a Form S-8 Registration Statement to register the shares pursuant to Ligand’s 2022 Employment Inducement Plan.

The awards were granted under the Inducement Plan as employment inducement awards pursuant to NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The Inducement Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity awards to individuals who were not previously employees of Ligand, or following a bona fide period of non-employment, as an inducement material to such individuals’ entering into employment with Ligand, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).

The options have an exercise price of $89.70 per share, which is the closing price of Ligand’s common stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on August 1, 2022. The stock options have a term of ten years and will vest over four years, with 12.5% of the shares vesting six months after the employee’s commencement of employment and the balance of the shares vesting in 42 equal monthly installments thereafter, subject to the grantee’s continued service on such vesting dates.

The RSUs will vest over three years on the first three anniversaries of the grantee’s commencement of employment, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. The PSUs will vest based on the achievement of certain total shareholder return objectives and the completion of the contemplated spin-off of OmniAb, Inc. from Ligand. The number of shares earned under the PSUs may be up to 6,500 in the aggregate if maximum performance levels are achieved.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals
Ligand is a revenue-generating 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) ultimately to generate our revenue. Ligand’s OmniAb® technology platform is a patent-protected transgenic animal platform used in the discovery of fully human monoclonal and bispecific therapeutic antibodies. The Captisol® platform technology is a patent-protected, chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Ligand’s Pelican Expression Technology® is a robust, validated, cost-effective and scalable platform for recombinant protein production that is especially well-suited for complex, large-scale protein production where traditional systems are not. Ligand has established multiple alliances, licenses and other business relationships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, Janssen, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and Baxter International. 

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Enteris BioPharma Publishes White Paper Examining Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration of Peptides

Enteris BioPharma | September 13, 2022

Enteris BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative drug products based on its proprietary delivery technologies, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation announced the publication of a new white paper in Drug Development & Delivery entitled, "Key Considerations in Oral Delivery of Peptides – Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration." The paper, authored by John Vrettos, PhD, Director of Formulation Development for Enteris BioPharma, and Kalpana Ramakrishnan, PhD, Manager of Business Development for Enteris BioPharma, explores the barriers to developing oral delivery of peptides and how pharmaceutical companies can overcome them. Oral administration of peptides offers several advantages while treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity as they are less invasive and more cost effective compared to injections. "Molecule size, potency, and solubility are some of the key physicochemical properties that determine a peptide's suitability for oral delivery. The healthcare industry is in need of enabling drug delivery technologies with the capability to overcome barriers in oral delivery of peptides. Importantly, orally delivered medications may encourage patient compliance compared with more invasive approaches to administering drugs. Approximately 75% of peptides are delivered by injective routes, including subcutaneous injections which can be painful and difficult to incorporate into a daily routine." Dr. Vrettos Dr. Vrettos continued, "Enteris' Peptelligence® platform offers a 'triple-action' solution comprised of our enteric coating, protease inhibitor, and permeation enhancer. When combined, these technologies have demonstrated an ability to improve the solubility and permeation of orally delivered peptides. These properties can potentially enable oral delivery of some peptide drugs for the first time, and we are excited to share our knowledge on oral delivery of peptides through this informative whitepaper." Peptelligence is a novel formulation technology designed to enhance the oral delivery and bioavailability of selected drugs by enhancing the permeation of such compounds that are typically injected, including peptides and BCS class III and IV small molecules, and preventing their breakdown in the digestive tract. About Enteris BioPharma Enteris BioPharma, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation offering total integrated contract development and manufacturing services for innovative formulation solutions utilizing its proprietary drug delivery technologies, Peptelligence® and ProPerma®, and contract manufacturing (CMO) services using non-proprietary technologies. The company's proprietary technologies have been the subject of numerous feasibility studies and active development programs, some of which are in clinical development. Additionally, Enteris BioPharma is advancing an innovative internal product pipeline of drug products that address significant unmet clinical needs for which there is no satisfactory treatment option.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Innocoll Announces Publication of Positive Results from Pivotal Clinical Trial of POSIMIR in Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals | July 07, 2022

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited, a commercial-stage biotechnology company and portfolio business of Gurnet Point Capital, announced the publication of the results of Study BU-002-IM evaluating the safety and efficacy of POSIMIR® for infiltration use in 107 patients undergoing arthroscopic subacromial decompression. The peer-reviewed paper, entitled “SABER-Bupivacaine Reduces Postoperative Pain and Opioid Consumption After Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” was published online on May 17, 2022 in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Global Research & Reviews. According to the report, POSIMIR 5 mL administered into the subacromial space at the end of arthroscopic subacromial decompression surgery in this double-blind, randomized, controlled, multicenter study, reduced mean postoperative pain on movement over 72 hours by 1.3 points on a 0-10 scale compared with vehicle control, a relative reduction of 20%. Simultaneous improvements in postoperative opioid use during the same 72-hour period provided evidence that the observed pain reduction was clinically meaningful. The median time to first request for opioid rescue medication was 12.4 hours among patients treated with POSIMIR compared with 1.2 hours in patients who received vehicle control. The median total opioid consumption in intravenous (IV) morphine milligram equivalents over 72 hours was 4.0 mg in the POSIMIR group vs 12.0 mg in the vehicle control group. The proportion of patients who were opioid free at 72 hours was 40% in the POSIMIR group vs 16% in the vehicle control group. As reported in the paper, the most common treatment-emergent adverse events were headache, nausea, musculoskeletal pain, cardiac disorders, skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders, injury and procedural complications, general disorders and administration site conditions and respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders. Of 2 serious adverse events reported among patients in these treatment groups, only 1 occurred during the immediate 2-week postsurgical follow-up period, and none was considered related to treatment. There were no TEAEs leading to study discontinuation. “These very compelling results, demonstrating up to three days of local analgesia after a single intra-operative injection, make POSIMIR an important new tool in treating postoperative pain from arthroscopic subacromial decompression,” said Sten Rasmussen, MD PhD, Professor and Head of Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Denmark, the senior author and a principal investigator in the POSIMIR study. “We are excited to publish the positive results of this pivotal clinical trial of POSIMIR, the second approved product in our portfolio of nonopioid, extended-duration, locally-acting analgesics for postsurgical pain control. As the only company with two non-opioid extended release bupivacaine products on the market, we look forward to bringing POSIMIR to the orthopedic community,” Louis Pascarella, Innocoll President and Chief Executive Officer About POSIMIR POSIMIR for infiltration use contains more bupivacaine in a single dose than any other approved, sustained-release bupivacaine product. It employs a proprietary extended-release technology that enables the continuous release of bupivacaine, a non-opioid local anesthetic, directly to the surgical site for 3 days after administration. POSIMIR was approved in February, 2021 by the US Food and Drug Administration. POSIMIR is indicated in adults for administration into the subacromial space under direct arthroscopic visualization to produce post-surgical analgesia for up to 72 hours following arthroscopic subacromial decompression. Use in any other surgical procedure is investigational. POSIMIR is a registered trademark of Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited. About Subacromial Decompression Shoulder Surgery Subacromial decompression is a type of shoulder surgery used to treat impingement syndrome, a common repetitive-use injury that causes pain when the arm is raised over the head. The procedure is performed arthroscopically, meaning that several small incisions are made in the skin and muscle of the shoulder through which a camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments are inserted during surgery. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is generally performed as outpatient surgery, and most patients go home within a few hours of surgery. The most intense pain typically occurs during the first 3 days and is often managed with a combination of nerve block and oral opioids. There are over 600,000 surgeries involving arthroscopic subacromial decompression performed each year in the U.S. About Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited is a global biotech pharmaceutical company headquartered in Athlone, Ireland and is a subsidiary of Innocoll Biotherapeutics Holding Limited. The Innocoll group of companies is focused on the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical technologies to meet some of today’s most important healthcare challenges. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion Group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, Gurnet is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and partners.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Everest Medicines Appoints Rogers Yongqing Luo as Chief Executive Officer to Lead Next Stage of Company Growth

Everest Medicines | September 19, 2022

Everest Medicines a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products to address critical unmet needs in Asia Pacific markets, announced that it has appointed Rogers Yongqing Luo as Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective immediately. Mr. Luo will also serve as an Executive Director on Everest's Board of Directors. Mr. Luo brings to Everest more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry with an extensive leadership track record across clinical development, regulatory affairs and commercialization. Previously, Mr. Luo served as President and General Manager, Greater China at Brii Biosciences and CEO of TSB Therapeutics where he spearheaded the rapid registration approval, GMP certification and successful commercialization of the amubarvimab/romlusevimab combination, the first COVID-19 neutralizing antibody treatment in China. Prior to that, he was Global Vice President and China General Manager at Gilead Sciences where he led the clinical development, regulatory approval and successful commercial launch of eight innovative therapeutics, and efforts that rapidly expanded patient access across China. Mr. Luo previously oversaw the successful launch of several high-profile medicines. He managed sales, marketing, government affairs and market access functions for various leading multinational pharmaceutical companies including Roche and Novartis, and worked two years at Novartis headquarter in Switzerland. "As Everest Medicines continues to evolve our business strategy and expand our novel product pipeline at a rapid pace, we are thrilled to have Rogers join the Company to lead Everest through its next phase of growth in becoming a fully-integrated biopharma company in China. With his robust background as a top executive at both biotech startup and large multinational pharma companies, Rogers brings to Everest a unique set of expertise including comprehensive scientific insight, proven outstanding leadership and excellent commercialization capabilities in patient access, and a demonstrated history of successfully advancing early- and late-stage innovative pipeline to commercial launch in Greater China. In particular, Rogers' leadership will strengthen Everest's new product development and commercial capabilities as we progress toward potential approvals of our late-stage anchor product candidates, including Nefecon, Xerava, etrasimod and mRNA vaccines. We look forward to leveraging Rogers' leadership and industry expertise to generate long-term growth and success across the business." Mr. Wei Fu, Chairman of Everest Medicines and Chief Executive Officer of CBC Group "I'm very excited to join Everest and I look forward to working with this talented, world-class team of scientists and industry professionals to further the Company's industry leadership. We will continue to advance our late-stage pipeline towards commercialization and with our strong balance sheet, we aim to execute synergistic business development deals to accelerate our path to become an integrated biopharma," said Rogers Yongqing Luo, Chief Executive Officer of Everest Medicines. "We will continue to invest into our discovery platform to build an innovative therapeutic pipeline for the benefit of patients with unmet needs in Greater China and other Asia Pacific markets, and to create sustained, long-term value for our shareholders." About Everest Medicines Everest Medicines is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products that address critical unmet medical needs for patients in Asian markets. The management team of Everest Medicines has deep expertise and an extensive track record of high-quality clinical development, regulatory affairs, CMC, business development and operations both in China and with leading global pharmaceutical companies. Everest Medicines has built a portfolio of potentially global first-in-class or best-in-class molecules, many of which are in late-stage clinical development. The Company's therapeutic areas of interest include oncology, autoimmune disorders, cardio-renal diseases and infectious diseases.

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PHARMA TECH

AeroRx Partners with HCmed to Develop a Nebulized LABA/LAMA Combination Solution for the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

AeroRx Partners | October 03, 2022

AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. and HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. have initiated a collaboration, introducing a LABA/LAMA combination solution for delivery with a breath-actuated nebulizer. This collaboration sets forth the framework by which both companies will work together to develop a new nebulized combination formulation for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to market reports, it is estimated that there would be close to 34.5 million COPD patients worldwide by 2028, accounting for treatment global sales that could reach up to 19.3 billion USD. AeroRx is currently developing the first nebulized LABA/LAMA combination solution, which could benefit 7-19% of the COPD population. This population group is characterized for suffering from moderate to severe airflow obstruction, which creates difficulties to achieve the inspiratory flow rate required to use most dry powder inhalers optimally. Under this partnership, AeroRx will be responsible for the formulation development, clinical trials, and commercialization of the drug product, while HCmed will be responsible for the customization of the AdheResp breath-actuated nebulizer platform, analyzing and optimizing the formulation's aerosol characterization performance to accommodate the various stages of drug development process and the final combination product. The project will follow a 505(b)2 regulatory pathway, and the corresponding PK/PD study is expected to be conducted with HCmed's nebulizer in 2023. "We are excited to announce our partnership with AeroRx. The AeroRx team has extensive experience in the development of respiratory drugs, while at HCmed we can support our partners to develop drug-nebulizer combination products with our proprietary breath-actuated mesh nebulizer platform. The product of our collaboration will provide COPD patients with an effective inhaled LABA/LAMA combination drug, which will reinforce patients' treatment adherence and improve their quality of life." Jason Cheng, CEO and founder of HCmed Keith Ung, President and co-founder of AeroRx also commented, "We too are enthusiastic about this partnership. Breath-actuated vibrating mesh delivery of inhaled therapeutics is the wave of the future for many therapeutics and HCmed has become one of the leaders in this elegant inhaler device technology." About HCmed Founded in 2014, HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. is a contract development and manufacturing organization that provides high-quality and cost-effective vibrating mesh nebulizer technology and services to support global pharmaceutical partners in the development of drug-nebulizer combination products for inhalation therapy. HCmed offers a mature customizable mesh nebulizer platform to enhance drug delivery. This technology enables efficient and reliable nebulization of different types of medication, ranging from small molecule synthetics to large molecule biologics, as either solutions, suspensions, or even difficult-to-deliver high viscosity drugs. About AeroRx Founded in 2022, AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. is a spin-off of iPharma Lab's inhalation CDRO business which was recently acquired by Kindeva Drug Delivery. AeroRx is developing proprietary inhaled products for the treatment of COPD and asthma. The company is led by industry veterans with extensive expertise in inhaled drug delivery and development as well as a track record in building new pharmaceuticals organizations from the ground up.

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Truven Health Analytics™ offers a full suite of digital marketing and engagement services and support for healthcare organizations. These services range from email list management and execution; to multilayered, multimodal, lead nurturing campaigns; to fully automated patient engagement messaging and trigger communications.

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