Drug development firm Icagen is launching a Phase 1 study of a proposed treatment for epilepsy.

Last month, Icagen (Nasdaq: ) signed a deal possibly worth $1 billion with Pfizer for development of compounds to treat pain.

The epilepsy study involves a compound targeting seizures. “Activity” has been demonstrated in preclinical studies, Icagen said. The compound, called ICA-105665, is administered orally.

"Epilepsy affects over two million people in the U.S. alone. Currently available anti-epileptic drugs are inadequate to control seizures in a significant proportion of patients with epilepsy,” said Seth Hetherington, senior vice president of clinical development and regulatory affairs at Icagen.

“New drugs with a novel mechanism of action may be effective for those patients with epilepsy resistant to current therapies or those who experience unacceptable side effects with their current treatment regimens,” he added. “We are looking forward to pursuing the development of ICA-105665 as part of our overall effort in neuroexcitability disorders such as epilepsy and pain, in which ion channel modulation represents a potentially important therapeutic approach.”

Icagen is developing compounds that work on ion channels that are fundamental to such processes as muscular movement.