Icagen, Inc. (ICGN)

Q4 2010 Earnings Conference Call

March 7, 2011 10:00 am ET


Richard Katz - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Kay Wagoner - Chief Executive Officer


Christopher James - McNicoll, Lewis & Vlak

Dominique Sémon - Merlin Nexus

Chris Richard - Merlin Nexus

Tore Steen - Anthem Funds



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2010 Icagen Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. My name is Dazzman [ph] and I’ll be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions).

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host to Dr. Richard Katz, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Please proceed.

Richard Katz - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer:

Thank you very much operator. Good morning everyone. Thanks for joining us today to discuss Icagen’s corporate research and clinical progress as well as our financial results for the fourth quarter and the yearend. With me here today is Kay Wagoner, our CEO and Greg Rigdon, our Head of New Product Development. Kay will start the call today with a general overview. I will then address the financial results and Greg will be available to answer questions as well.

Before we begin, I would just like to read the following regarding any forward-looking statements that we may make today. Various remarks that we may make about the company's future expectations, plans and prospects constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including those discussed in our most recent quarterly report as filed with the SEC.

In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimates change, and therefore you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to today.

So with that, let me now turn the call over to Kay to update you on our corporate and clinical progress.

Kay Wagoner - Chief Executive Officer:

Thanks Rich. The last month of 2010 and the first two months of 2011 have been very positive months for Icagen. We made progress on all fronts certainly financially and clinically. We have two clinical programs in areas of medical need with potential or significant commercial market opportunities in the areas of pain and epilepsy.

Additionally, we are better funded. We – our value is increasing for our shareholders and our listing on NASDAQ is secured. I will summarize some of the progress in the Pfizer program first and then turn to the KCNQ program. The progress that we’ve made with Pfizer has been very outstanding. We have discovered and continue to discover many potent and selective antagonists or subtypes of sodium channels for new and better pain treatments.

Our late compound in the Pfizer collaboration, which is now in human clinical trials is a very selective antagonist for the sodium channel called Nav1.7 or SCN9A. This is a target which has been genetically linked to pain and one of the most existing pain targets in our industry today. While there are marketed sodium channel blockers which are used for a variety of conditions including the block of pain transmission and sensation, none is truly selective for this particular ion channel target.

We, Icagen believe that selective sodium channel blockers represent an unique and highly promising approach to its treatment of pain conditions. We have convinced ourselves through our joint efforts with Pfizer that truly selective drug candidates are possible. We look forward to continued progress in this collaborative effort in which we continue to identify multiple promising compounds that block Nav1.7 or other sodium channel targets for utility and treatment of various serious and chronic pain conditions. Some of the specifics of our joint efforts with Pfizer include that we are, as I noted, currently in Phase I, this is a single ascending dose trial in healthy volunteers and that study is going well.

Following the successful completion of that first study, we do anticipate initiation of a multiple ascending dose trial later this year. As we’ve noted before, the general timeline for Phase I study is about a year based on industry standards, but is important to note that Pfizer controls and funds all the clinical development for this program, so we will give further updates as they are forthcoming from Pfizer.

You may remember that, we have received about $4 million in milestones related to this program earned over the past two quarters. We expect and hope for significant future milestones as this first compound progresses. Additionally, we anticipate other milestones upon successful identification of additional clinical candidates for any of these three targets. You also may remember that we are continuing to have the research phase of our collaboration, which continues at least through the end of 2011. So their program is going really well and we’re excited about the progress that we’ve made together with our partner Pfizer.

On the KCNQ upfront, we are also pleased following successful discussions with the FDA to be now in a position to have the option to continue the development of ICA-105665, our novel KCNQ agonist for the treatment primarily of epilepsy. Preparations are underway in anticipation of a Phase II trial in the target population. So, we are doing final protocol writing. We are preparing drug substance.

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