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Xenon Genetics Eyes IPO Within 18 Months

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7 - Xenon Genetics, a privately held genomics-based drug-discovery company, said on Monday that it will attempt and initial public offering in 12 to 18 months.


The firm also said it plans to collaborate this year with a "major pharmaceutical or biotech company" in a deal similar to the research relationship it forged with Pfizer. In this arrangement, whose financial details remain undisclosed, researchers from Xenon and Pfizer's Warner-Lambert subsidiary try to uncover genomic-based targets that would increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.


Frank Holler, Xenon's president and CEO, would not say what those companies are. He spoke at the 20th annual JPMorgan H&Q Healthcare Conference, held here through Thursday.


Last month, Xenon, based in Vancouver, said it had discovered a gene related to epilepsy and one that is associated with iron metabolism regulation.


The epilepsy gene was found through genetic analysis of families with a form of epilepsy called idiopathic generalized epilepsy. The finding was then validated clinically in humans, according to the company.


The second gene was identified through an animal model and validated as an iron metabolism regulator in humans.


Xenon said both genes were found to be drug targets for possible therapies for treating iron disorders and epilepsy.

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