Ligand Pharmaceuticals' Insider Buys Continue Ahead Of New Catalysts

| About: Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND)

Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) have continued to climb since we first reported in August that insider buying in the stock was on the rise.

Shares were trading at approximately $12 per share at the time of that report and rose to a 52 Week-High of $16.24. Shares are currently trading at -6.53 % from that high point at around $15.18 per share. Insider buying in the stock continued to come in at a steady pace during the entire month of October, even as the stock dipped slightly.

There are several upcoming Trade Catalysts listed in our FDA calendar and Worldwide Regulatory Tracker, but perhaps none more key than this one: Ligand expects to report the Captisol-enabled melphalan full results of an ongoing Phase II study in the current (fourth) quarter of 2011. A pivotal study is targeted to begin by early 2012 and is designed to enroll approximately 60 patients. Ligand anticipates the planned timing of study completion to allow for a mid-2013 NDA submission. This event was tracked from an announcement made by the company in late June. We are expecting several other catalysts- including two product market launches- to take place in 2012.

Ligand announced recently that it will host a panel discussion in San Francisco, on Monday, November 7, 2011 to review and discuss the Promacta Phase III ENABLE 1 study results.

New SEC filings show that just days ago, BVF Partners LP picked up more shares ($83,751 worth) at an average price of $13.91 per share. Insider filings show that the firm has aggressively increased the number of shares they own from 362K to over 1.7M during the last month.

Biotechnology Value Fund Partners LP (BVF Partners LP) is a private investment partnership founded in 1993 by President and Portfolio Manager Mark Lampert. Lampert was once vice president at Oppenheimer & Co. where he created various biotechnology investment vehicles. Mr. Lampert also founded Biotechnology Royalty Corp, which pooled university patent royalties, prior to joining Oppenheimer. The firm manages the Biotechnology Value Fund which pursues activist investment strategies in biotechnology equities.

We reported in October that this same fund had increased their shares in Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX). Neurocrine shares have traded as high as $6.75 (a since trading 18% lower in early October).

The La Jolla, California based Ligand Pharmaceuticals is operating with a business model that is assembling a large and diverse portfolio of current and near-term commercial revenue generating assets to assist the long-term financial growth of the company.

Ligand has collaborations with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), Merck (NYSE:MRK), The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY), King Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cephalon Inc, and others. Ligand has also announced two new licensing agreements during the past month.

Ligand's partnered and unpartnered pipelines can be seen here.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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