Ligand, Roche to develop ion channel drug discovery platform

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 1, 2020 -- Ligand Pharmaceuticals and Icagen have expanded Icagen's license agreement with Roche to develop and commercialize small molecule ion channel modulators for the treatment of neurological disorders. The firm has added a second program to the agreement.

The new program uses Icagen's ion channel technology and expertise to focus on a specific, novel ion channel target relevant to neurodegenerative disease. The new program is in addition to ongoing work on another novel central nervous system target.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche made a cash upfront payment and will provide research funding to Icagen with the potential for Icagen to receive development and commercial milestone payments of up to $274 million. Royalty payments are also possible should a commercialized drug emerge from the collaboration.

Icagen will head most preclinical activities up to lead optimization with both Icagen and Roche applying resources to identify candidates for entry into investigational new drug-enabling studies, the firms said. Roche will direct further development and commercialization of the program, they added.

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