On the day Icagen announced an extension of a drug development deal with a major partner, word also leaked about details of the biopharmaceutical firm’s long-awaited public offering.

The venture-backed biopharmaceutical firm hopes to raise as much as $60 million, according to a media report.

Private Equity Wire reported Friday that Icagen has priced its initial public offering between $10-12 a share. Icagen is working with UBS Investment Bank JP Morgan to promote the offering of 5 million shares.

The wait has been a long one for the IPO, given that Icagen disclosed its intentions in early 2004. Icagen has raised more than $70 million in venture capital, PE Wire said.

The company issued no public statement about the IPO.

Icagen did announce an extension of its drug research deal with Abbott. The firms have been working together since 2001, and the extension is good through the end of the year, Icagen said.

The focus is on drugs to target “ion channels” in cells. Ions move back and forth between cell membranes through openings, or channels. Icagen says ions are important to physiological functions. Its drug development focuses on ion treatments to deal with neuropathic and inflammatory pain.

“Neuropathic and inflammatory pain represents an area of substantial unmet medical need,” said Doug Krafte, vice president of biology at Icagen, in a statement about the deal. “A variety of ion channel targets are expressed in the critical pain pathways both in the peripheral and central nervous system.

“Through our target class approach to ion channel drug discovery, Icagen has identified several of these channels as promising targets for the treatment of these disorders,” he added. “In our collaboration with Abbott, which is focused on one particular ion channel target for pain, we have made progress towards the identification of novel therapeutics that we believe may offer important advantages over currently available drugs.”

Icagen received an upfront payment when the contract with Abbott was signed and it has received research and milestone payments since then.

Icagen has four drugs in trial and under development:

  • ICA-17043 for sickle cell disease, targeted for Phase III clinical trial in the first quarter of this year

  • ICA-69673 for epilepsy and neuropathic pain, now in Phase I trials

  • A compound for atrial fibrillation in Phase I trials with Bristol-Myers Squibb as a partner

  • A compound for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, now in pre-clinical testing. Icagen’s partner is Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co.
  • Icagen: www.icagen.com