Icagen shares rocket up on news of Pfizer buyout talks

After four years of collaborating on new pain drugs, Research Triangle Park-based Icagen and Pfizer have begun talking about taking their business relationship one big step forward. Late on Friday several business news outlets got their hands on a statement Pfizer filed with the SEC saying that it is in discussions with Icagen regarding a "strategic transaction" that just might involve an acquisition. And that news caused Icagen's shares ($ICGN) to rocket up 156 percent in pre-market trading.

After some preliminary discussions, Icagen has agreed to hand over some due diligence material, according to Pfizer. In its own brief statement, Icagen confirmed the talks but didn't have anything to add.

Last fall shares of Icagen spiked on the news that Pfizer was extending their development pact, paying for Icagen's research work involved in their partnership targeting three sodium ion channels in an effort to advance a new therapy for serious pain. Their pact calls on Pfizer to pay up to $359 million in milestones. Pfizer already owns 14 percent of the company.

Icagen has had its ups and downs along the way. Last fall it halted enrollment in an epilepsy study, which caused a meltdown in its share price.

- check out the Ocagen release
- here's the story from the Wall Street Journal