The companies will jointly investigate protein therapeutics targeting defective protein hemojuvelin.

Xenon partnered with Roche to discover and develop protein therapeutics targeting hemojuvelin (HJV) as an approach for the treatment of anemia of inflammation. Xenon discovered HJV as the defective protein underlying juvenile hemochromatosis. This protein appears to play a role in the regulation and availability of iron for red blood cell production.

The companies will jointly research protein-based inhibitors of HJV. In addition to the research and license agreement, the Roche Venture Fund has purchased $7 million of Xenon stock.

The research term is for two years. Upon the achievement of a series of research, development, and regulatory milestones, Xenon may be eligible to receive payments of up to $44 million for the first product and further payments for subsequent products. Roche will also pay Xenon undisclosed royalties on sales of resulting products.

Xenon has retained an option to copromote therapeutic products in Canada. Roche has the option to commercialize HJV-based diagnostics, as well as an option to license small molecule inhibitors of HJV that Xenon develops.

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