Post-Pfizer Icagen pairs up with Aptuit for drug discovery

Icagen CEO Richie Cunningham

Months removed from a Pfizer ($PFE) spinout, biopharma service provider Icagen signed a deal with Aptuit to collaborate on early-stage research, planning to co-marketing services to drugmakers.

Under the agreement, Aptuit's clients get access to Icagen's assays designed to speed the discovery and development of treatments that modulate the body's ion channels and transporters. In exchange, Icagen's customers can tap Aptuit's services in early-stage research, including medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics. Neither side disclosed financial details.

"Icagen's ultimate goal is to reduce the time and cost of bringing ion channel and transporter drug candidates to market for our clients," CEO Richie Cunningham said in a statement. "Aptuit's world-leading expertise in integrated drug discovery we believe will increase Icagen's ability to efficiently advance our clients' drug candidates through pre-clinical development."

Icagen is setting out on its own after Pfizer's decision last year to spin the company out. In July, Icagen merged with a Cambridge, MA, service provider called XRPro Sciences, absorbing that company's x-ray fluorescence technology and hanging onto its ion channel platform. Pfizer acquired Icagen in 2011 in a $50 million deal.

Icagen Chairman Tim Tyson is the former CEO of Aptuit, presiding over the sale of the company's packaging business before stepping down in 2012.

- read the statement