NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Icagen ( ICGN) soared on very light volume late Friday after Pfizer ( PFE) said it's considering a strategic transaction with the company, possibly a merger.

Pfizer owns roughly 1.1 million Icagen common shares, a 14.2% stake in the company, stemming from a research and licensing agreement that the Dow component entered with Icagen back in 2007.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing after Friday's closing bell, Pfizer detailed the stake and said it's now "evaluating the possibility of entering into a strategic transaction" with Icagen, and disclosed that representatives of both parties have held preliminary talks about a potential deal and amended prior agreements to allow Pfizer to conduct some due diligence.



Icagen, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., issued its own statement after the close, acknowledging it's "currently engaged in preliminary discussions with Pfizer" and adding that "no definitive agreement has been reached."

Icagen shares were last quoted at $5, up more than 100%, on volume of roughly 15,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on a regular session close at $2.40, the stock was already up more than 35% so far in 2011.

Other stocks active in Friday's after-hours action included MannKind ( MNKD), which rose nearly 8% to $4.30 on volume of 350,000. The company said after the closing bell that two separate studies of its proposed diabetes treatment Afrezza found the drug showed no increased risk of cardiac events.

MannKind also said a separate study found type 1 diabetes using Afrezza, an insulin inhalation powder, have a "more positive view of therapy" compared to compared to standard insulin therapy. MannKind shares are down almost 40% in the past 52 weeks.

Universal Forest Products ( UFPI) was also active, falling more than 15% to $22.25 on volume of more than 25,000 after the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company said it's reducing its workforce and taking other cost-cutting actions because of weak sales.

"Retail sales during what is historically our busiest selling season didn't materialize as expected this year, and in order to preserve our opportunity for profitability and to ensure we're properly sized for our business opportunities moving forward, we have undertaken additional cost-cutting measures," said CEO Michael Glenn, in a statement.

Universal Forest, a maker of wood and wood-alternative products such as decking, said it expects the restructuring moves to yield annual savings of $10 million before one-time severance charges. The company also said it's evaluating underperforming assets fore possible consolidation or divestiture.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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