Merck inks drug discovery deal with Xenon

Merck has signed a deal with Canada-based Xenon to discover and develop small molecule candidates for cardiovascular disease. Xenon, a clinical genetics-based drug discovery and development outfit, will perform validation studies using its clinical genetics platform, as well as drug discovery. The company will handle certain preclinical development of small molecule compounds for selected targets. Merck has exclusive rights to any drug resulting from the collaboration, though Xenon can develop candidates which Merck passes over.

Though the total value of the deal was not disclosed, Xenon said it will receive $95.5 million for the first target and up to $89.5 million for each subsequent target selected for drug discovery. Additionally, Merck will pay Xenon undisclosed royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

"This new alliance, which represents our fifth partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, once again highlights Xenon's R&D capabilities and validates our drug discovery platform," said Michael Hayden, CSO of Xenon. The company has previously partnered with the likes of Roche and Takeda on similar projects.

- here's the release

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