Heptares' Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder Fiona Marshall to Present at Royal Society of Medicine Medical Innovations Summit

Jun 30, 2014, 04:00 ET from Heptares Therapeutics

LONDON and BOSTON, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Heptares Therapeutics, the leading GPCR structure-guided drug discovery and development company, is delighted to announce that Fiona Marshall, Heptares' Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder, has been invited to present at the Royal Society of Medicine Medical Innovations Summit.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 5 July 2014 at The Royal Society of Medicine in London, UK, will feature presentations on pioneering science and technological innovations in medicine from some of the UK's brightest scientists.

The subject of Dr Marshall's talk is GPCR Drug Discovery. GPCRs are regarded as one of the most important families of protein receptors in the human body; they play a central role in many biological processes and are linked to a wide range of diseases. GPCRs are present in every type of cell in the body where their function is to transmit signals from outside the cell across the membrane to signaling pathways within the cell, between cells and between organ systems. Many top-selling drugs target GPCRs.

In her presentation, Dr Marshall will give a brief history of GPCR drug discovery from the use of plant derived medicines over 1,000 years ago through the subsequent Nobel prize-winning research that led to the elucidation of the X-ray structures of GPCRs. This detailed knowledge has enabled Heptares and its scientific founders to develop innovative technologies that can be used to design drugs with high selectivity for specific GPCRs and precision to fit their receptor-binding pockets. Using this process of "structure-based drug discovery," Heptares is aiming to develop more effective and safer medicines for diseases that are not adequately treated.

Dr Marshall will describe this approach led to the design of a novel drug candidate that selectively activates the muscarinic M1 receptor and is now in clinical development as a novel treatment for improving cognitive function (memory and thinking abilities) in patients with Alzheimer's disease and other diseases associated with dementia and cognitive impairment.

Activation of the M1 GPCR targets one of the key pathways known to play a role in the memory loss that occurs in Alzhiemer's disease and is a profile that the pharmaceutical industry has endeavored to create for decades. The principal challenge has been to engineer selective compounds that activate the M1 receptor without also activating the closely related M2 or M3 receptors, which are associated with undesirable side effects (including headaches, nausea). All previous compounds have been discontinued due to inadequate selectivity. The discovery of this fully selective M1 agonist is a real breakthrough in the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

For more information about the entrepreneurs and innovators presenting at the RSM's Medical Innovations Summit visit: http://www.rsm-medicalinnovations.com/summer-summit.aspx

Notes for editors 

The Medical Innovations Summit will take place on Saturday 5 July 2014 at The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE.

Limited places at the RSM Medical Innovations Summit will be offered to journalists registering for a press pass.

The Royal Society of Medicine is one of the country's major providers of accredited postgraduate medical education. Each year, the RSM organises over 400 academic and public events, spanning 60 areas of special interest providing a multi-disciplinary forum for discussion and debate. Videos of many key lectures are also available online, increasing access to the Society's education programme. The RSM is home to one of the finest medical libraries in the world, with an extensive collection of books, journals, electronic journals and online medical databases. As well as providing medical education, the Society aims to promote an exchange of information and ideas on the science, practice and organisation of medicine, both within the health professions and with responsible and informed public opinion. The Society is not a policy-making body and does not issue guidelines or standards of care.

About Heptares Therapeutics 

Heptares creates new medicines targeting clinically important, yet historically challenging, GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors), a superfamily of drug receptors linked to a wide range of human diseases. Leveraging our proprietary structure-based drug design technology platform, we have built an exciting pipeline of novel drug candidates with the potential to transform the treatment of serious diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, diabetes, schizophrenia, and migraine. Our pharmaceutical partners include Cubist, MorphoSys, Takeda, AstraZeneca and MedImmune, and we are backed by Clarus Ventures, MVM Life Science Partners, Novartis Venture Fund, the Stanley Family Foundation and Takeda Ventures. To learn more about Heptares, please visit http://www.heptares.com

HEPTARES is a registered trademark in the EU, Switzerland, US and Japan;  

StaR is a registered trademark in the EU and Japan. 

SOURCE Heptares Therapeutics