DURHAM — Icagen Inc.has received an award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation worth up to $11 million.

The award will fund a project that is focused on the discovery of therapeutics to treat patients with cystic fibrosis caused by nonsense mutations.

Durham-based Icagen expects to screen over 2 million compounds as well as leverage its state-of-the-art in silico drug discovery platform to interrogate an additional 10 million virtual structures for molecules that suppress nonsense mutations.

Icagen’s goal is to discover and evolve families of molecules that are suitable for clinical development.  The aim of the program is to provide patients with a therapy that will markedly improve their quality of life and lifespan.

“Icagen’s innovative platform is built for programs such as these to discover and advance novel therapeutic candidates for clinical development,” said Richie Cunningham, president and CEO of Icagen, in a statement.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease marked by defects in a protein, known as the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein.

Nonsense mutations in the gene gene result in the premature termination of protein synthesis and the formation of truncated, non-functional CFTR.

Patients with these mutations in both copies of their genes currently have no therapies that treat the underlying cause of their disease.

This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism