ORBIT (Opportunities in Receptor Biology for Industrial Translation) is a collaborative research initiative launched by Heptares in February 2016, designed to promote and broaden the application of its structure based drug design directed at GPCRs to create transformative medicines.
Heptares is committing up to £5 million for the next three years to fund this new initiative.
The new collaboration, which is Heptares’ fourth ORBIT programme, is with the research group of Professor Takehiko Yokomizo, a Molecular Biology, Immunology and Cell Biology expert and Professor of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at Juntendo University.
Fiona Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer of Heptares, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Professor Yokomizo and his group at Juntendo University.
“Their extensive experience and knowledge of leukotriene receptors, combined with our own structure-based design expertise, forms a strong basis, from which to generate novel selective, small molecules with the potential to address difficult-to-treat wounds. We look forward to a productive relationship.”
The collaboration is the first international industrial partnership for the university.
Research activities will focus on the bespoke design and profiling of novel leukotriene receptor modulators with potential therapeutic utility in intractable skin/intestinal ulcers.
Professor Yokomizo of Juntendo University, said: “Heptares has a strong global reputation based on its GPCR drug design capabilities. We are excited to collaborate on this new project, which has the potential to significantly advance our knowledge of the links between leukotriene receptor and disease, and to progress new drug design strategies in this area.”
ORBIT will see Heptares collaborate with leading academic groups and emerging biotechnology companies. ORBIT aims to leverage the expertise of collaborators to seek out new links between GPCRs and diseases and develop a better understanding of disease biology relating to a broad range of GPCR targets.
In parallel, Heptares will apply its world leading GPCR targeted drug discovery and translational medicine capabilities to generate a new wave of novel small molecules and biologics for advancement through its development pipeline.
Since its launch in February 2016, Heptares has initiated four ORBIT programmes focused on novel GPCR targets across multiple disease areas: with Imperial College London’s National Heart and Lung Institute (immune disorders), the University of Cambridge (cardiovascular diseases), New York University School of Medicine (glioblastoma multiforme) and Juntendo University (intractable skin/intestinal ulcers).