Ligand Pharmaceuticals is working with CURx Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize Ligand’s Captisol-enabled™ Topiramate Injection for the treatment of partial onset or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in hospitalized epilepsy patients who are unable to take oral topiramate. Per the agreement, Ligand will be eligible to receive more than $21 million in potential net milestone payments and net royalties on future sales of 6.0–7.5%.

“In Phase I trials in healthy volunteers and patients at the University of Minnesota, the product demonstrated a faster onset of action than the orally administered drug,” said Dinu Sen, CEO and founder of CURx.

Captisol® is a chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Topiramate is sold by Janssen Pharmaceuticals under the trade name Topamax® and is currently available only in oral formulations. The Captisol-enabled Topiramate Injection formulation, which was initially developed at and is exclusively licensed from the University of Minnesota, is designed to provide an intravenous or intramuscular option for hospitalized epilepsy patients. The FDA granted orphan-drug designation to Captisol-enabled Topiramate Injection in July 2013.

“This is another great deal for Ligand and our Captisol technology, pairing our proven formulation agent with an approved medicine to create a potentially novel, important, and highly differentiated drug,” commented John Higgins, president and CEO of Ligand. “CURx is highly motivated to advance development with current plans calling for a Phase II trial to commence in 2014.”

Ligand has been in the news a lot lately. In March, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals took over the effort to develop and commercialize Ligand’s Captisol-enabled, propylene glycol-free melphalan as part of a potentially $53 million-plus global licensing deal. In addition, Ligand’s selective estrogen receptor modulator lasofoxifene was the subject of two deals—one with Azure Biotech, the other with Ethicor Pharma—within the same week in July.

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