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LIGAND AND ALLERGAN SIGN JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT TO RESEARCH, DEVELOP AND COMMERCIALIZE RETINOID-BASED COMPOUNDS

LIGAND AND ALLERGAN SIGN JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT TO RESEARCH, DEVELOP AND COMMERCIALIZE RETINOID-BASED COMPOUNDS
 IRVINE, Calif, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) have formed a joint venture designed to research, develop and commercialize pharmaceutical products based on retinoid technology.
 All research, development and commercialization costs of the joint venture will be shared equally, as will any earnings from retinoid products developed by the joint venture. Ligand will have principal responsibility for marketing cancer products in North America, while Allergan will have worldwide responsibility for products in the areas of dermatology and opthalmology, as well as responsibility for marketing cancer products in the rest of the world.
 The companies will provide $15 million each initally to fund the joint venture. Additionally, Allergan is committed to make a $20 million equity investment in Ligand.
 The joint venture brings together Ligand's strength in hormone-activated intracellular receptor technology and Allergan's expertise in discovering and developing retinoids for topical use. Intracellular receptors are members of a family of hormone-activated proteins that act inside the cell to directly regulate gene expression. The combined medicinal chemistry resources of both companies, including discovered or patented retinoid compounds, will be applied to the joint venture.
 Under terms of the joint agreement, research will be conducted concurrently at Ligand's laboratories in San Diego and at Allergan's facilities in Irvine, utilizing the strengths of each company. Additionally, Allergan President and CEO William C. Shepherd has accepted Ligand's invitation to join its board of directors.
 David E. Robinson, Ligand president and chief executive officer, said the joint venture will form one of the largest retinoid drug discovery programs in the industry, making the joint venture more competitive than either Ligand or Allergan alone.
 "This agreement is consistent with Ligand's strategy of forming major corporate alliances to accelerate the development and commercialization of our leading-edge discoveries," he said. "This also gives Ligand unique profit-making potential by giving us the ability to share in worldwide profits for all applications of retinoid technology developed by the joint venture."
 Shepherd said the joint venture represents a key step in Allergan's efforts to accelerate the development and commercialization of the company's portfolio of patented retinoid compounds. "Technology is an integral part of Allergan's strategic direction," he said. "Allergan has made several external investments this year in various biotechnology research programs to enhance our internal pipeline and R&D efforts. Our strategy of seeking alliances that will enhance the rapid development of any of our products or businesses will continue."
 Intracellular receptors play a key role in regulating the genetic processes affecting many diseases, including certain cancers, gynecological disorders and cardiovascular, inflammatory and skin diseases. Scientists at Ligand and collaborators of the company at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Baylor College of Medicine, have discovered the majority of the 35 intracellular receptors identified to date, enabling the company to build a strong proprietary position through its exclusive rights to key intracellular receptor technologies and discoveries.
 Also in collaboration with the Salk Institute, Ligand has developed a co-transfection assay system to detect compounds acting on human intracellular receptors. This assay, which is protected by issued patents, enables rapid screening of thousands of compounds, and accurately predicts the probable therapeutic and side-effect profiles of potential drug candidates.
 Retinoids are analogues of retinoic acid, one of the body's natural regulatory non-peptide hormones. Retinoic acid has a broad range of biological actions, influencing cell growth, differentiation and embryonic development. Synthetic analogues of retinoic acid have shown clinical utility in the treatment of a variety of skin diseases and cancers.
 Currently available retinoid drugs, while effective, have significant side effects due to lack of specificity and selectivity. Recently discovered intracellular receptors may make it possible to identify and develop highly selective retinoid compounds with reduced side effects. Ligand's proprietary assay system, using cloned human retinoid receptors, will be used to identify and optimize retinoid compounds for development.
 Allergan, which began its medicinal chemistry program in 1984, owns more than 400 patented retinoid compounds. Allergan is currently conducting human clinical trials on
AGN190168, which are in Phase III for treatment of acne. In advanced Phase II studies for the topical treatment of psoriasis, AGN190168 has shown promising early results.AGN190168 for these indications is not included in the joint venture. The joint venture only has the rights to develop AGN190168 for systemic uses for skin cancers and in non-eye and -skin applications.
 Allergan, Inc., headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a global provider of specialty therapeutic products; is expanding beyond skin care and its leadership position in eye care into adjacent markets; and is pursuing other core technologies.
 San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals, founded in 1987, is a privately held company which is the leader in the area of intracellular receptor technology. Combining modern molecular biology with the traditional drug discovery, Ligand's programs are directed at the discovery and development of non-peptide small molecule drugs for the treatment of human disease.
 -0- 7/1/92
 /CONTACT: Shel Holtz (media), 714-752-4387 (work), 818-366-5296 (home); Jeff D'Eliscu (Investor Relations), 714-752-4636 (work) , 714-675-9475 (home), both of Allergan. Ligand Contact: Cindy Weigle, Jon Daum, both of Daum Wiegle, 619-453-7700./
 (AGN) CO: Allergan, Inc. ST: California SU: MTC IN:


CH -- LA017 -- 5708 07/01/92 12:32 EDT
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Date:Jul 1, 1992
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