Heptares scientists receive 2015 Malcolm Campbell Memorial Prize

In recognition of their contribution to GPCR drug discovery

The Malcolm Campbell Memorial Prize for 2015 has been awarded by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector to Miles Congreve (Vice President of Chemistry), Fiona Marshall (Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder) and Malcolm Weir (Chief Executive Officer and co-founder) of Heptares Therapeutics in recognition of the contributions to GPCR drug discovery made by the company since it was founded in 2007.

GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) form the most important family of drug targets in the pharmaceutical industry and are linked to a wide range of disease areas; they are the targets for approximately 40% of all existing drugs.

The prize acknowledges work that has included building the StaR technology platform, which enables precision drug design based on structural information for validated and challenging GPCRs, and the invention of a number of clinical candidates with potential to transform the treatment of a range of human diseases. Such candidates include the world’s first selective M1 agonist, which is in clinical studies for improving learning and memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and other related diseases. Heptares is also advancing a non-stimulant medicine targeting the adenosine A2A receptor for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The winners were commended on their outstanding publication record, and on their willingness to release data into the public domain.

Marshall said: ‘Our progress at Heptares since 2007 has been extraordinary and has involved valuable scientific contributions from a very talented team beyond the three of us. We are very proud therefore to receive this prestigious award in recognition of these achievements. We strongly believe in the potential of our integrated technology, discovery and development operation to improve the treatment of severe and debilitating conditions that affect many millions of people around the world.’

The Malcolm Campbell Memorial prize commemorates Professor Campbell’s contributions in a broad range of chemistry and their applications to the understanding of bioactivity.

The prize is awarded biennially and previous winners include teams at AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Organon. The 2015 prize will be presented formally to the winning team during the RSC/SCI Medicinal Chemistry Symposium to be held at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK, on 13-16 September.

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