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Ligand to Acquire OMT

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OMT has leading antibody drug discovery technology and is believed to be the only company in the world offering three transgenic animal platforms for license. Its license agreements with biotechnology partners will initially add 16 shots on goal to Ligand, as well as future potential licensing deals and additional compounds generated from existing partnerships. OMT has existing licenses with Amgen, Celgene, Genmab, Janssen, Merck KGaA, Pfizer, Seattle Genetics, Five Prime, Symphogen and various other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. OMT is privately held and is majority owned by Essex Woodlands.

Under the terms of the transaction, Ligand will pay OMT shareholders approximately $178 million, including $92.6 million in cash and $85.4 million in Ligand common stock. Roland Buelow, Ph.D., founder of OMT and a world-renowned antibody researcher, is expected to join Ligand as Vice President of Antibody Technologies and continue working with Ligand on advancing the OMT business. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in January 2016.

“OMT is an ideal strategic fit for Ligand and holds potential to have a profoundly positive impact on our business over the long term,” said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals. “OMT brings a robust and important technology for biologic drug discovery that we believe will stand next to Captisol® in terms of opportunity for partner events, new licensing transactions and financial contribution. The transaction is expected to be accretive to revenue and adjusted earnings, and if products are approved in the future, the underlying royalties could generate substantial revenues for decades to come. This transaction is a major addition to what Ligand believes is an unprecedented portfolio of more than 140 fully-funded partnered programs.”

“OMT has created a highly successful business around the OmniAb antibody technology platform and the business has significant growth potential,” said Roland Buelow, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of OMT. “We are very impressed with Ligand's business model, success in deal making and commitment to continue driving the OMT business to even greater success. We believe Ligand's broad licensing network, business acumen, financial resources and commitment to our technology create an attractive exit for OMT shareholders. I am personally excited to join Ligand as an employee and shareholder, and look forward to helping the talented team continue to expand its business.”

OMT OmniAb Antibody Platform

OmniAb refers to three industry-recognized transgenic animal platforms for generation of naturally optimized monospecific, bispecific and polyspecific human therapeutic antibodies.

OmniRat® is one of the industry’s first human monoclonal antibody technology based on rats. It has a complete immune system with a diverse antibody repertoire and is genetically engineered to produce antibodies with human idiotypes.

OmniMouse® is a transgenic mouse that complements OmniRat and expands epitope coverage and therefore antibody discovery capabilities for partners.

OmniFlic™ is an engineered rat with a fixed light chain for development of bispecific, fully human antibodies.

All three platforms use patented technology and deliver fully human antibodies with high affinity, specificity, expression, solubility and stability, thereby facilitating more rapid discovery of therapeutic antibodies for partners. OmniAb allows partners to identify high-affinity antibodies in a patented animal system, that therefore have been optimized by in vivo selection pressures, accelerating development times and increasing the prospects of technical success compared with traditional antibody-generation technologies.

Antibodies are a major and growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry. Five of the top 10 selling medicines in 2014 were antibodies. The top 10 selling antibodies in 2014 generated total revenue of $57 billion and the number of antibodies in clinical development has tripled over the past seven years from 150 to 468 currently.