Icagen Extends Pfizer Alliance

Icagen Extends Pfizer Alliance [The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.]


From News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) (September 24, 2010)


Sept. 24--Icagen shares rose Thursday after the Durham drug development company announced that it has extended a partnership with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Pfizer will provide Icagen with $5 million in funding through December 2011. Icagen’s researchers are developing experimental treatments for pain under the deal, which was first announced in 2007.

Icagen needs the money. The company, which cut costs and jobs last year, continues to spend about $3 million a quarter on research.

"We feel the extension of Pfizer’s ongoing collaboration provides investors with an increased level of confidence in Icagen’s product development capabilities," Christopher James, an analyst with McNicoll Lewis Vlak, wrote in a report to investors. "Given the additional clarity on Icagen’s business direction, we are raising our recommendation [on the stock] to a ‘hold,’ while we wait" for more details on an experimental epilepsy drug.

Last week, Icagen stopped enrollment of a clinical trial testing its epilepsy drug after a patient experienced a "serious adverse event." Officials are discussing the status of that drug trial with the Food and Drug Administration.

This week, Icagen held a reverse stock split, essentially exchanging eight existing shares for one new share. The move was designed to increase the per-share price and satisfy Nasdaq listing requirements.

The stock, which has lost more than 80 percent of its value in the past year, rose 14percent Thursday to close at $1.22. That puts it above the Nasdaq’s $1 minimum.

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Posted: September 2010


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