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Panel Recommends Icagen Continue With Combination Sickle Cell Drug Trial

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An independent data monitoring committee has recommended that


continue with its Phase III clinical trial of a proposed treatment for sickle cell disease.

The committee backed the continued enrollment of patients in the trial which combines Icagen's ICA-17043 compound in conjunction with hydroxyurea therapy. Hydroxyurea therapy is a cancer treatment.

In August, the same committee recommended that Icagen not proceed with a trial that only used ICA-17043,

Shares of Icagen (Nasdaq: ICGN) plummeted more than 70 percent on that news to less than $1.

In trading Tuesday after the latest announcement, Icagen traded up more than 10 percent at $1.03.

The committee's recommendation came after a review of additional data, Icagen said in a statement.

"We are pleased that following review of the currently available, updated data the DMC recommended continuation of the study for patients receiving concurrent hydroxyurea therapy," said Seth Hetherington, an MD who is senior vice president for clinical and regulatory affairs at Icagen. "Few effective therapies are available for patients with sickle cell disease and none provide complete relief from complications. As in the treatment of many diseases, combination therapy may prove to be an effective approach in treating patients with sickle cell disease."

Icagen will meet with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the committee's decision, Hetherington added.

The Icagen compound has been designed to be taken orally once a day. It is also being tested in a pediatrics trial.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects some 100,000 people in the United States alone. It is the most common genetic disease among people of African descent.

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