As its two lead products prepare for clinical trials, Canadian genetics company Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. secured a US$31 million financing.

The funds will support XEN401 for chronic and acute pain and XEN501 for acute termination and prevention of atrial and ventricular fibrillation. Currently in pre-investigational new drug application studies, the products could enter clinical trials later this year.

MX Associates LLP and LipoteRx Ltd. led the financing - a third institutional round for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company. Several other investors, including New York-based Invesco Private Capital, participated.

"The money is really going to be focused on advancing our lead product candidates in pain and arrhythmia to Phase IIa data," said Simon Pimstone, Xenon's co-founder, president and CEO, who spoke to BioWorld Today from the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual convention in Chicago on Tuesday.

Pimstone said the financing gives Xenon "a couple of years' cash on hand," and the company expects "to be filing INDs on both of those products by year-end."

A third product, XEN600 from Xenon's iron overload lead series, could yield a clinical candidate sometime in 2007.

Xenon develops small-molecule therapeutics for certain neurological, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. It conducted its first venture capital round in 2000, and between equity financings and partnership revenues, Xenon has pulled in about $100 million total.

In September 2004, the company signed a major deal with Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, to research, develop and commercialize compounds from Xenon's SCD1 drug development program. The agreement was worth $157 million in pre-commercial payments. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 22, 2004.)

SCD1 - or Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 - is a regulatory enzyme in fatty-acid metabolism and a target for the treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

For its two lead products, Xenon intends to seek global partnerships once it has reached proof-of-efficacy milestones. But, Pimstone said, "there has been significant interest, and we are contemplating some territory-based deals currently."

As part of the financing, a LipoteRx managing partner, Evan Stein, joined Xenon's board.

In other financial news:

• SkinMedica Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., closed an $11.2 million private placement of its Series E-1 preferred stock. Montagu Newhall Associates led the round, which included existing investors Domain Associates, Apax Partners, Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, HealthCare Ventures, Euclid SR Partners and Montreux Equity Partners. SkinMedica is focused on marketing prescription and cosmeceutical dermatology products.

• Theranox Inc., of Philadelphia, raised more than $14 million in a Series A round led by Quaker BioVentures and NewSpring Capital, both of Philadelphia. The company will use the funds for clinical trials and to commercialize the use of gaseous nitric oxide to treat chronic wounds, such as diabetic ulcers and venous stasis ulcers, as well as other topical applications, such as the treatment of post-surgical infections. Theranox licensed the key patent portfolio for the topical use of gaseous nitric oxide from Viasys Healthcare Inc., of Conshohocken, Pa., a company that formed Theranox as a spin-out and also participated in the Series A round. The license agreement provides for milestone payments, technology access fees and royalty payments to Viasys.