EXCLUSIVE: XRpro's Revamped Icagen, Inc. May See Hiring, CEO Tells BioSpace

EXCLUSIVE: XPro's Revamped Icagen May See Hiring, CEO Tells BioSpace
July 2, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor

The acquisition announced this morning by XRpro of Pfizer Inc. 's former ion channel biology platform, now Icagen, Inc. , will be a “big opportunity” to grow the company, CEO Richie Cunningham told BioSpace in an interview.

“All of the Icagen team biology that was within Pfizer is moving to the new Icagen,” he said. “We will be incorporating the XRpro technology into the RTP location as well, and see this as a big opportunity to grow the company over time.”

Thursday morning XRPro Sciences announced it is re-launching the Icagen brand and to provide comprehensive services for ion channel and transporter drug discovery. Icagen will continue to operate out of its existing facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C. as well as the XRpro Sciences Inc. site in Cambridge, Mass. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cunningham said there were multiple catalysts for the deal, including Pfizer’s vast restructuring.

“Increasingly, companies are externalizing drug discovery and development, both to control their costs and to provide better access to cutting edge technology and expertise than they can maintain themselves,” Cunningham told BioSpace.

“As you have written about already, Pfizer has been restructuring its operations. This deal with XRpro Sciences, which includes a continued multi-year, multi-target collaboration with Pfizer, enables that company to retain access to the critical technologies, tools, and expertise necessary for continued support of its ion channel and transporter drug discovery,” he said. “And in fact, this transaction makes those resources more available to research groups throughout Pfizer than they were as part of a single Pfizer division.”

For XRPro Sciences, Cunningham said the acquisition of the Icagen team and assets “enables us to expand our offerings in a significant way.” Through this acquisition, the unique capabilities of XRpro technology are brought together with a large portfolio of ion channel tools and traditional assay technologies as well as the industry’s most experienced team in the field of Ion channel drug discovery and development.

“Their track record includes moving multiple drug candidates from discovery to clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas,” he added.

Cunningham would not rule out the creation of new jobs as the revamped company, and biotech’s bull run, continue apace.

“The newly formed Icagen has unmatched ion channel expertise, an extensive collection of cell lines, and a comprehensive technology portfolio that are all very attractive attributes for potential clients,” he said. “Pfizer has recognized these strengths and signed a multiyear collaboration agreement with Icagen. In addition to Pfizer, we anticipate our capabilities will appeal to a great number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. This, in combination with the general trend of increased outsourcing, makes us believe that we will need to expand our team in the near future as our business grows.”

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