Ligand is tasked with discovery and lead optimization of JAK3 inhibitors.

Pfizer is extending a collaboration with Ligand Pharmaceuticals for JAK3 inhibitors by one year. Ligand will receive $3.1 million to continue conducting drug discovery and lead-candidate optimization.

The original research and license agreement was entered into in December 2006 with Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired for $68 billion earlier this year. It provided for an initial three-year term and called for up to $175 million in milestone fees related to the successful development and commercialization of multiple products. Ligand is also eligible to royalties on product sales.

“We view JAK3 inhibitors as a very promising market opportunity, and given Pfizer’s clinical success with its own internal program we are convinced that they are highly committed to this category,” notes John L. Higgins, president and CEO of Ligand.

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