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Ligand Licenses Liver Drug Candidates

San Diego’s Ligand Pharmaceuticals said today it has licensed two liver drug candidates to Chiva Pharmaceuticals, a Los Altos Hills, CA, affiliate of Hainan Kaihua Pharmaceutical. Ligand says the deal, which gives Chiva rights to develop and market the drugs in China, could be worth more than $100 million in milestone payments and royalties. Ligand also has the potential to get a 10 percent stake in Chiva as well as sublicensing revenue. Ligand acquired drugs a year ago through its acquisition of Metabasis Therapeutics. One drug is a potential treatment for hepatitis B and the other is being tested as a treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.