Heptares and Takeda in two-year drug discovery partnership

Heptares could receive up to £60.5m in future milestone payments

Heptares Therapeutics, a Welwyn Garden City, UK-based drug discovery company, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company have entered into a two-year drug discovery collaboration focused on a single G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) that plays an important role in the pathology of central nervous system disorders.

Under the agreement, Heptares will work on its StaR (stabilised receptor) technology to engineer thermally stabilised forms of the GPCR as the basis for the drug discovery programme.

Heptares will also apply advanced structural biology and rational drug design approaches, including Biophysical Mapping, X-ray crystallography and fragment screening, to characterise the GPCR's structure and to generate early leads.

Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Takeda will participate in lead generation and take responsibility for preclinical and clinical development of new drugs candidates.

Takeda also gains worldwide commercial rights to new drugs emerging from the collaboration.

Heptares has received an upfront payment of £1.7m and an investment in an equity stake of approximately £2.8m purchased by Takeda Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda.

Heptares is also entitled to future milestone payments of up to £60.5m plus royalties on product sales.

‘The Heptares StaR technology is a powerful new capability for discovering GPCR-targeted drugs and we look forward to applying it to a specific GPCR target of interest to Takeda in the area of neuroscience,’ said Shigenori Ohkawa, chief scientific officer at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

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