HITGEN has entered into a definitive agreement with Ligand Pharmaceuticals to acquire Vernalis (R&D), Cambridge, UK-based company in fragment and structure-based drug discovery research. The acquisition is for the entire issued share capital of Vernalis (R&D), for $25 million in cash. The closing of this transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals, expected to complete before the end of 2020.
Strong synergies between HitGen’s industry-leading DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DEL) platform and Vernalis’ deep expertise in fragment and structure-based approaches and medicinal chemistry will offer a full suite of early discovery capabilities for both internal programs and external collaborations.
“Coupling HitGen DELs containing over 500 billion small molecules, and a dedicated 100-person internal programs resource, with Vernalis’ extensive experience in progressing projects from concept to clinic, will empower joint discovery efforts against hard-to-drug targets, to develop innovative therapeutics of the future. It is envisaged that close collaboration between the teams and pioneering technologies can deliver meaningful value on a faster timescale to the combined NCE portfolio, available for licensing to partners,” informed a release.
Vernalis will continue to operate in Cambridge under the current management team, with partners which currently include Asahi Kasei Pharma, Lundbeck, Servier and PhoreMost.
Deloitte China and CICC served as financial advisors, Cooley (UK) and JunHe China as legal advisor, and Deloitte China as tax advisor to HitGen in this transaction.