Ligand Pharmaceuticals Acquires Apeiron Biologics AG for $100M

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated has announced its acquisition of Apeiron Biologics AG for $100 million in cash. This acquisition provides Ligand with royalty rights to Qarziba®, a commercial oncology drug marketed in 35 countries by global pharmaceutical company Recordati S.p.A. Ligand expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share (EPS) by an estimated $1.00 per share on an annualized basis, with a $0.50 impact to 2024.

The acquisition will increase Ligand's 2024 adjusted EPS guidance range by 17% to $5.00-$5.50, up from the previous range of $4.25-$4.75. Additionally, Ligand is increasing its 2024 revenue guidance to a range of $140 million to $157 million, up from the previous range of $130 million to $142 million. Royalties are now expected to range from $100 million to $105 million, previously $90 million to $95 million.

Ligand is also entering into a stock purchase agreement to invest up to $4 million in Invios Holding AG, a privately held spin-off of Apeiron. This investment will help finance the research and development of three early-stage immuno-oncology assets, further expanding Ligand’s development stage portfolio.

Qarziba® is a monoclonal antibody approved for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma in patients aged 12 months and above. It is the only immunotherapy for high-risk neuroblastoma marketed across Europe and in other parts of the world.

This acquisition further adds to Ligand’s commercial stage portfolio, which now consists of 12 key commercial-stage products, supporting the company's strategy to invest in high-value medicines that deliver significant clinical value and generate predictable and long-term revenue streams.

The transaction is subject to a 30-day shareholder objection period and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in July 2024. Ligand was advised by McDermott Will & Emery and E+H Rechtsanwälte GmbH, while Apeiron was advised by Baker McKenzie and Dorda.

Following these announcements, the company's shares moved 2.0%, and are now trading at a price of $84.37. Check out the company's full 8-K submission here.

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