SAN DIEGO & BRANFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:LGND) and Neurogen Corporation (NASDAQ:NRGN) announced today they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Ligand will acquire Neurogen. Under the transaction, Neurogen stockholders will receive an estimated $11 million in Ligand common stock and will be granted Contingent Value Rights (“CVRs”) under four CVR agreements. The CVRs would entitle Neurogen shareholders to cash payments for the sale or licensing of certain assets and the achievement of a specified clinical milestone. The Ligand and Neurogen Boards of Directors have unanimously voted in favor of this transaction.
“We are very pleased to be combining Neurogen with Ligand and believe this transaction benefits the stockholders of both companies,” said John L. Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals. “Ligand stockholders will gain access to an attractive partnership with Merck, additional pipeline assets and drug discovery resources, approximately $7 million in net cash and NOLs. Neurogen’s stockholders will receive equity in a well-capitalized company with royalty streams from approved pharmaceutical products, numerous fully funded partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, an expanded internal pipeline and financial liquidity.”
“We are committed to running Ligand as a company with a broad array of royalty bearing assets and early stage pipeline programs, backed by a strong balance sheet and staunch spending discipline,” added Higgins. “The acquisition of Neurogen will complement our long roster of partnerships, strengthen our research assets and expand our discovery resources.”
Details of the Proposed Transaction
Neurogen Brings to Ligand the Following:
Financial Outlook of Combined Companies
With the acquisition of Neurogen, Ligand projects its cash balance to increase by approximately $7 million taking into account payment of transaction and wind-down costs and the repayment of Neurogen’s debt. Accordingly, Ligand believes that if the transaction closes by the end of 2009, Ligand could have nearly $50 million in cash at year-end. Ligand does not forecast this acquisition to impact the operating expense guidance for 2010 and therefore, consistent with previous guidance, Ligand currently expects expenses for 2010 to be in the range of $30 million to $35 million. Given Ligand's revenue outlook for 2010, Ligand currently projects that the business will be cash flow neutral on an operating basis in 2010.
Based in Branford, CT., Neurogen Corporation is a drug development company historically focusing on small-molecule drugs to improve the lives of patients suffering from psychiatric and neurological disorders with significant unmet medical need. Neurogen has conducted its drug development independently and, when advantageous, collaborated with world-class pharmaceutical companies to access additional resources and expertise.
About Ligand Pharmaceuticals
Ligand discovers and develops new drugs that address critical unmet medical needs of patients with muscle wasting, frailty, hormone-related diseases, osteoporosis, inflammatory diseases, anemia, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Ligand's proprietary drug discovery and development programs are based on advanced cell-based assays, gene-expression tools, ultra-high throughput screening and one of the world’s largest combinatorial chemical libraries. Ligand has strategic alliances with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Schering-Plough, Pfizer and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. With nine pharmaceutical agreements and more than 20 molecules in various stages of development, Ligand utilizes proprietary technologies for identifying drugs with novel receptor and enzyme drug targets.
This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Ligand and Neurogen caution readers that any forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information. Words such as "expect," "estimate," "project," "potential," and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the expected timing of closing the merger, statements about the benefits of the transaction between Ligand and Neurogen, including future financial and operating results, expected cash balance of the combined entity as of the closing, the 2010 pro forma operating cash burn rate, the possibility of payments being made under the CVR agreements, the combined entity’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements are the risks that Merck may not advance the VR1 program successfully; the risk that Neurogen’s real estate or the Aplindore program may not be sold and that the conditions of the H3 and Merck CVR’s may not be met in order to produce proceeds for the CVR holders; the anticipated synergies and benefits from the transaction may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; failure of Neurogen’s stockholders to approve the merger; Ligand or Neurogen inability to satisfy the conditions of the merger, or that the merger is otherwise delayed or ultimately not consummated; Neurogen product candidates may have unexpected adverse side effects or inadequate therapeutic efficacy; and positive results in clinical trials may not be sufficient to obtain FDA approval. There can be no assurance that any product in Ligand’s, Neurogen’s or the projected combined company’s product pipeline will be successfully developed or manufactured, that final results of clinical studies will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate. Additional important factors that may affect future results are detailed in Ligand’s and Neurogen’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), including each company’s recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, or in information disclosed in public conference calls, the date and time of which are released beforehand. Each of Ligand and Neurogen disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements beyond the date of this release.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
Ligand intends to file with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4, which will include a proxy statement of Neurogen and other relevant materials in connection with the proposed transaction. The proxy statement which will also constitute a Ligand prospectus, will be mailed to the stockholders of Neurogen. Investors and security holders of Neurogen are urged to read the proxy statement and the other relevant materials when they become available because they will contain important information about Ligand, Neurogen and the proposed transaction. The proxy statement and other relevant materials (when they become available), and any other documents filed by Ligand or Neurogen with the SEC, may be obtained free of charge at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Ligand by going to the Investor Relations page on Ligand’s corporate website at www.ligand.com. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Neurogen by going to the Investor Relations page on Neurogen’s corporate website at www.neurogen.com. Investors and security holders of Neurogen are urged to read the proxy statement and the other relevant materials when they become available before making any voting or investment decision with respect to the proposed transaction.
Ligand and its respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Neurogen in favor of the proposed transaction. Information concerning Ligand’s directors and executive officers is set forth in Ligand’s proxy statement for its 2009 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 29, 2009, and annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 16, 2009.
Neurogen and its respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Neurogen in favor of the proposed transaction. Information about Neurogen’s executive officers and directors and their ownership of Neurogen common stock is set forth in Neurogen’s amended annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on April 30, 2009. Investors and security holders may obtain more detailed information regarding the direct and indirect interests of Neurogen and its executive officers and directors in the acquisition by reading the proxy statement regarding the merger, which will be filed with the SEC.