Xenon Pharmaceuticals is exercising its option to an exclusive worldwide license to XEN701, an antisense drug co-discovered in collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals.

Under the terms of the agreement, Xenon will pay Isis $2 million for XEN701, which is designed to inhibit production of hepcidin, a target Xenon identified for the treatment of anemia of chronic disorders (ACDs). Xenon is responsible for all future development and commercialization of XEN701. Isis, meanwhile, is eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments and royalties from Xenon on sales of XEN701, as well as a portion of sublicense revenue.

Xenon said it plans to initially develop XEN701 for patients with chronic kidney disease who are intolerant of or who are poor responders to erythropoietin therapy. The firm adds that XEN701 is the first drug to enter development its collaboration with Isis.

“XEN701 has the potential to provide significant therapeutic benefit to patients with ACD through a novel non-Epo receptor-based mechanism and we are looking forward to initiating clinic studies with this compound,” Simon Pimstone, Xenon president and CEO, said in a statement.

Added Isis COO Lynee Parshall: “We are pleased with the success of our collaboration with Xenon and the opportunity to apply our antisense drug discovery technology to discover XEN701, a novel antisense drug to treat ACD.”

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