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Genentech signs $646m pain drug research alliance with Xenon

Drug discovery and diagnostic collaboration is the Roche subsidiary’s second in 2012

Roche's Genentech business has agreed a drug discovery and diagnostic collaboration with Xenon Pharmaceuticals to discover products to be used in the treatment of pain.

The deal is already the second alliance Genentech has tied up in 2012 following its drug discovery deal with the UK-based pharma firm Vernalis for an as-yet undisclosed target.

The latest agreement could be worth up to $646m for Xenon, through an undisclosed upfront payment, research funding and milestone payments related to research, development and commercialisation.

The US-based company, which specialises in a genetics led approach to drug discovery, will also receive royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

Research will focus on the discovery of 'new therapeutic approaches' for treating pain.

Under the terms of the agreement, Genentech has an exclusive license to compounds and a non-exclusive license to diagnostics from Xenon for development and commercialisation of products.

Xenon uses an 'extreme genetics' methodology, studying rare, inherited human diseases that are more severe forms of, or have the opposite effect to, common diseases.

These studies allow researchers to more efficiently identify drug targets critical to the disease biology in humans by discovering what processes in the body are especially affected by the more severe or contrary condition.

Michael Hayden, chief strategic officer of Xenon, said: “This new alliance, which represents our sixth partnership with a major pharmaceutical company to date, once again highlights the keen interest in Xenon's unique genetics approach and in our translational R&D capabilities.”

Xenon has a deal with Japanese company Takeda Pharamceuticals to develop treatments for pain and collaborations with Novartis for obesity treatments, Merck & Co for cardiovascular drugs and Isis Pharmaceuticals for antisense products.

10th January 2012

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