Takeda has licensed a painkiller developed by Canadian firm Xenon Pharmaceuticals for an upfront fee of $75 million, as well as development and commercial milestone payments and royalties on sales.

The Japanese drugmaker gains rights to the XEN401, an orally-active drug in preclinical development, in Japan and certain other Asian countries. It will also buy $5 million in Xenon stock.

Xenon says that XEN401 is an new type of analgesic with broad utilities for inflammatory, neuropathic, post-surgical and muscular pain. It acts via a different mechanism to opioid and COX-targeting drugs, and could have a lower propensity to cause addiction, cardiovascular or central nervous system side effects compared to existing drugs.

Clinical trials of XEN401 are due to start next year and, if approved, it would address a market valued at around $1.6 billion a year, according to the Canadian company.