Ligand Pharmaceuticals Partner Secures FDA Approval for First COPD Treatment in Two Decades

Verona Pharma plc, partner to Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGND), has received FDA approval for Ohtuvayre™ (ensifentrine). Ohtuvayre is the first inhaled product with a novel mechanism of action available for the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adult patients in more than 20 years. Ligand’s shares climbed

COPD causes breathing problems including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, frequent coughing (with and without mucus), wheezing, tightness in the chest and unusual tiredness. More than 390 million people worldwide are living with COPD, which has no cure.

Under the partnership agreement, Ligand earned a $5.8 million milestone payment upon FDA approval of Ohtuvayre and will earn an additional $13.8 million upon its commercial launch which is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2024.

Commenting on the news, Todd Davis, CEO of Ligand, said, “Verona Pharma has worked tirelessly to bring a new treatment option to the millions of people managing chronic COPD and we are excited to see their efforts come to fruition with this approval. For Ligand this is an important milestone, as it’s the second FDA approval within our royalty portfolio in two weeks and the eighth regulatory approval since 2023. COPD is a multi-billion-dollar market opportunity in the U.S. alone, and we believe Ohtuvayre will be another key growth driver for Ligand.”

Under the terms of the partnership, Ligand is entitled to a low single-digit royalty on worldwide net sales of Ohtuvayre.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand is a biopharmaceutical company enabling scientific advancement through supporting the clinical development of high-value medicines. Ligand does this by providing financing, licensing our technologies or both. Its business model seeks to generate value for stockholders by creating a diversified portfolio of biopharmaceutical product revenue streams that are supported by an efficient and low corporate cost structure. Ligand’s goal is to offer investors an opportunity to participate in the promise of the biotech industry in a profitable and diversified manner. Its business model focuses on funding programs in mid- to late-stage drug development in return for economic rights, purchasing royalty rights in development stage or commercial biopharmaceutical products and licensing its technology to help partners discover and develop medicines. Ligand partners with other pharmaceutical companies to leverage what they do best (late-stage development, regulatory management and commercialization) in order to generate its revenue. Ligand’s Captisol® platform technology is a chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Ligand has established multiple alliances, licenses and other business relationships with the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Jazz, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and Baxter International. For more information, please visit Follow Ligand on X @Ligand_LGND.

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Partner Secures FDA Approval for First COPD Treatment in Two Decades

Catie Corcoran

Biotech Editor