Ligand to acquire biosimilars manufacturer Pfenex

Home/Pharma News | Posted 18/09/2020 post-comment0 Post your comment

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Ligand) is to acquire Pfenex Inc (Pfenex), a manufacturer of biosimilars including teriparatide, ranibizumab and pegfilgrastim.

01 AA007239

Ligand, which is based in San Diego in California, is a manufacturer of antibodies and drug-enabling technologies. The company announced on 10 August 2020 the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Pfenex, a biosimilar manufacturer also based in San Diego. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Pfenex manufactures biosimilars of the osteoporosis treatment teriparatide [1] and vision-loss treatment ranibizumab [2], among others. The company also owns a proprietary technology for recombinant protein production called ‘Pfenex Expression Technology’. The technology facilitates the production of complex proteins on a large scale and can be used to produce enzymes, peptides, antibody derivatives and engineered non-natural proteins.

Pfenex Expression Technology is used by Pfenex in its early-stage product pipeline and is also licensed to a number of commercial and development-stage programmes, where it can reduce development timelines and manufacturing costs.

Ligand says the acquisition of Pfenex will provide a number of benefits, including:
• Access to the proprietary protein expression technology
• Collaborations with pharmaceutical companies including Merck, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Serum Institute of India and Alvogen
• Outlook for additional licences to be secured over the next few years by Ligand leveraging the Pfenex technology
• Validated discovery platform technology driving a pipeline of product candidates
• State-of-the-art process development operation in San Diego with scalable equipment and engineering capabilities.

Commenting on the acquisition, CEO of Ligand John Higgins said Pfenex was an ideal fit for Ligand, adding: ‘The acquisition holds potential to have a significantly positive scientific and financial impact on our business in the short and long term, similar to how our Captisol and OmniAb acquisitions have played out. Pfenex will add an established, proven protein expression platform to Ligand that is highly complementary to our essential, proprietary drug discovery and formulation technologies’. 

‘The Ligand-Pfenex combination is an excellent strategic and cultural fit, presenting a unique opportunity to leverage the complementary strengths of robust platforms and rich pipelines, we expect it to position us even better to deliver on our joint vision to develop therapeutics that provide patients a better future’, said the CEO of Pfenex, Eef Schimmelpennink.

Related articles
Pfenex makes biosimilar deals with Alvogen and NT Pharma

Biosimilars approved in the US

1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. FDA approves Pfenex’s follow-on teriparatide product []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Sep 18]. Available from:  
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Hospira and Pfenex to collaborate on ranibizumab biosimilar []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Sep 18]. Available from: 

Permission granted to reproduce for personal and non-commercial use only. All other reproduction, copy or reprinting of all or part of any ‘Content’ found on this website is strictly prohibited without the prior consent of the publisher. Contact the publisher to obtain permission before redistributing.

Copyright – Unless otherwise stated all contents of this website are © 2020 Pro Pharma Communications International. All Rights Reserved

Source: Ligand

comment icon Comments (0)
Post your comment
Most viewed articles
About GaBI
Home/About GaBI Posted 06/08/2009
EU guidelines for biosimilars
EMA logo 1 V13C15
Home/Guidelines Posted 08/10/2010