RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., March 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Icagen, Inc. today announced that it has received a milestone payment from Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Yamanouchi") related to the selection of a compound for advanced preclinical studies as a result of the collaboration between the two companies in dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
"A variety of ion channel targets are expressed in the critical regions of the central nervous system associated with the formation and retention of memories," said Doug Krafte, Ph.D., Vice President, Biology of Icagen. "We are pleased that in our collaboration with Yamanouchi, which is focused on one particular ion channel target, we have had the opportunity to leverage our ion channel technology platform to identify a potentially novel approach to the treatment of these disorders."
"Icagen is pleased that compounds provided by our collaboration with Yamanouchi may have potential in the treatment of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease," stated P. Kay Wagoner, President and CEO of Icagen. "This selection of a compound for advanced preclinical testing marks a milestone and paves the way for future conduct of clinical trials in this important area of unmet medical need."
The Icagen/Yamanouchi collaboration in dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, which began in 2000, provided for an initial upfront payment, research funding and milestone payments to Icagen in return for worldwide rights to lead compounds generated for the treatment of these disorders. Additionally, Yamanouchi supports clinical development and Icagen will receive royalties from the sale of any products generated by the collaboration.
About Dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease
Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, represents an area of significant unmet medical need. According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are approximately 4.5 million Alzheimer's disease patients in the United States. According to Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, approximately 10% of all people over the age of 70 have significant memory loss; in more than half the cause is Alzheimer's disease. The total cost to the healthcare system of Alzheimer's disease is estimated at more than $100 billion per year in the United States, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Despite their limited efficacy, the market for drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease is significant, with estimated sales exceeding $1.1 billion in the United States during 2003, according to IMS Health. Benign senile dementia represents another substantial market opportunity, with no drugs currently approved for this disorder.
Icagen, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel orally-administered small molecule drugs that modulate ion channel targets. Utilizing its proprietary know-how and integrated scientific and drug development capabilities, Icagen has identified multiple drug candidates that modulate ion channels. The Company's four most advanced programs are:
-- ICA-17043 for sickle cell disease, for which the Company is conducting
a pivotal Phase III clinical trial;
-- ICA-69673 for epilepsy and neuropathic pain, for which the Company is
conducting Phase I clinical trials;
-- a compound for atrial fibrillation, which is being developed by the
Company's collaborator Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and is in Phase I
clinical trials; and
-- a compound for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, which is being
developed by the Company's collaborator Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co.,
Ltd. and is undergoing advanced preclinical testing.
Icagen is also conducting ongoing drug discovery programs focused on new therapeutics for pain disorders, inflammatory disorders and glaucoma.
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