Ligand Pharmaceuticals spin-out Pelican Technology has combined its business with Primordial Genetics under a merger deal to create a stand-alone private biotechnology company, Primrose Bio.

Primrose Bio will focus on the development of discovery and manufacturing systems for protein and nucleic acid-based therapies.

The company merges the Function Generator of Primordial Genetics and Ligand’s Pelican Expression Technology (Pfenex Expression Technology) platform to offer a new way of boosting biological productivity to develop novel medicines. 

These platforms were used to develop two manufacturing and formulation solutions, Prima RNApols and PeliCRM197. 

Biopharma companies licensed these solutions for developing messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based therapies and conjugate vaccines.

Under the merger deal, Ligand will own 49.9% of Primrose Bio, apart from the present commercial royalties linked to the Pelican Expression Technology. 

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In parallel, Ligand signed a purchase and sale agreement with Primrose Bio and made an investment of $15m.

This investment is in exchange for a share of the economic rights from two earlier deals signed by Primordial Genetics. 

The agreement also comprises economic interest in proceeds generated from PeliCRM197 in the future.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals CEO Todd Davis said: “With the spin out of Pelican, retention of economic rights to commercial royalties, and subsequent purchase of economic rights, we are delivering on our strategy to streamline the company’s operations and focus on accretive high-margin businesses and royalties. 

“We believe this will accelerate profitability and growth for our investors and add multiple new royalty ‘shots-on-goal’ for Ligand while realising lower infrastructure costs within our efficient high-growth business model.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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