Welcome home, Icagen.

Well, actually, the Durham drug development company never completely left, but now its once-relocated headquarters is returning to North Carolina from the Boston area with one relocating employee, bringing the head count at its Emperor Boulevard site to 20.

The company says it will be done consolidating its research operations and relocating corporate headquarters here by the end of December 2015.

“In our ongoing efforts to provide the highest quality services to Icagen’s customers, we are bringing together all of our research operations and scientific expertise at our facility in RTP,” said President and CEO Richie Cunningham.

The “homecoming” is a welcome landing for what has been a confusing and circuitous route for Icagen since its founding in Durham in 1992. Formerly a small publicly traded company developing drugs to treat epilepsy and sickle-cell disease, among others, Icagen was purchased by Pfizer in 2011.

The new subsidiary continued operations at its Durham site under the Pfizer brand until it was purchased in July 2015 by Cambridge, Massachusetts drug developer XRpro Sciences. XRpro then changed its own name — to Icagen. And it still has drug development agreements with Pfizer. Got that?

“This allows us to consolidate the wide array of technologies and capabilities that we have to offer, including our XRpro platform, under one roof,” explained Cunningham, who hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll remain in the Boston area or join the rest of his Icagen team in RTP.

“The re-emergence of Icagen has been very well received by the biopharma community to date,” he said, “and we are already engaged in a number of active research programs including our ongoing collaboration with Pfizer. This move is expected to further enhance our ability to help our customers advance their drug discovery programs in the most efficient manner possible.”