Pfizer adds to pain pipeline with $50M Icagen buyout

The buzz about Pfizer's interest in buying its development partner Icagen turned into a done deal today. Pfizer, which already has an 11% stake in the biotech, will acquire all the shares it doesn't own for $6 a pop, or about $50 million total. But the buyout price fell well below investors' expected target and Icagen shares tanked this morning, falling 23%.

Pfizer and Icagen ($ICGN) have been working together for the past four years on a pain program, focusing on three sodium ion channels. Icagen also has an epilepsy program in place which had been on clinical hold until earlier this year. The deal underscores Pfizer's interest in the pain field, which prompted the pharma company to buy King Pharmaceutical.

If this new pain therapy works as hoped, Pfizer will come out of the deal with a bargain. The pharma company has committed to $359 million in milestones in their collaboration.

"We're excited that Icagen, a global leader in pain research, will join Pfizer, further strengthening our innovative core," said Ruth McKernan, senior vice president of Pfizer's pain unit, known as Neusentis. "Icagen's capabilities and core ion channel technology will help to further expand Pfizer's position in the pain relief disease area and our ability to develop potential first-in-industry drugs for the treatment of pain and related disorders."

- check out the Pfizer release
- here's the Reuters story