Icagen reported improvement in its fourth-quarter financial results, although the Durham company continues to lose money as it seeks to develop a successful experimental drug.
The company's revenue rose to $2.3 million in the fourth quarter, up 64 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier. Much of the increase was tied to a $1 million milestone payment from bigger partner Pfizer.
Under its agreement with Pfizer, which runs through December, Icagen is developing new pain treatments that block so-called sodium channels and reduce the body's ability to feel pain. Icagen also is testing an experimental epilepsy treatment, and is preparing to start a new clinical trial on 60 patients.
The company made progress "financially and clinically" during 2010, said CEO P. Kay Wagoner, on a conference call with Wall Street analysts.
"We have two clinical programs in areas of medical need with potential for significant commercial market opportunities in the areas of pain and epilepsy," she added. "Additionally, we're better funded, our value is increasing for our shareholders and listing on Nasdaq is secured."
Last fall, Icagen held a reverse stock split to satisfy minimum listing requirements on the Nasdaq and avoid being delisted. The move traded in eight existing shares for one new one, reducing the total number outstanding and raising the per-share price.
The company also raised about $2.4 million in December and January by selling additional shares. Icagen now has more than $13 million in cash and is spending about $2.5 million per quarter on research and operations after cutting expenses. The company now employs about 40 people.
The company's net loss of $724,000 during the fourth quarter also was an improvement from a $3.3 million loss during the same period in 2009.
Icagen shares fell 18 cents to $2.73 this afternoon. The stock is down about 44 percent in the past year.