RALEIGH – Icagen, which works with clients to “determine drug feasibility using state-of-the-art computational chemistry methods,” is now part of San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals after a $15 million cash acquisition closed on Thursday.

The firm will continue to operate in Raleigh with 32 employees as Icagen, a Ligand company.


Icagen shareholders also could receive more money in the future if “certain revenue achievements” are achieved, Ligand announced.

“We are very pleased to add the Icagen technologies, partnerships and this profitable business to Ligand,” said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand, in a statement. “We all know how extremely challenging the current business environment is, and I want to commend the teams on both sides who worked together to get this deal done. It’s a fantastic acquisition that will enable Ligand to expand its services to current partners and drive new collaborations. We expect the Icagen ion channel capabilities will have particular synergy with our Vernalis and OmniAb® antibody discovery platforms.”

Icagen had partnerships with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and drug giant Roche. The Roche deal could mean $274 million plus royalties if the research leads to a drug.