Icagen shares jumped today after the Durham company announced it has selected an experimental compound for further testing as a potential pain treatment.
Icagen is researching pain treatments under a partnership with larger partner Pfizer. Picking the compound for additional clinical testing triggers a $1 million milestone payment from Pfizer, giving Icagen more cash.
The compound is designed to block a so-called sodium channel in the body's cells, with a goal of reducing the ability to feel pain.
Icagen announced in 2007 that it would collaborate with Pfizer on new pain drugs, a partnership that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if an experimental medicine is successful.
In September, the companies extended that partnership through Dec. 2011.
Icagen shares rose 96 cents to close at $2.18 today. The stock first began trading in Feb. 2005, but suffered as Icagen struggled to develop a successful drug.
Also in September, 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 avoid being delisted from the Nasdaq.