Heptares Launches "Orbit" Initiative - A New Collaborative Drug R&D Programme for Industry and Academia Focused on G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRS)

02 Feb, 2016, 04:00 ET from Heptares Therapeutics

LONDON and BOSTON, Massachusetts, February 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

First collaboration initiated with Imperial College London 

Heptares Therapeutics ("Heptares"), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation (TSE Mothers Index: 4565), is pleased to announce the launch of ORBIT, a new collaborative R&D initiative designed to promote and broaden the application of its proprietary structure-based drug design expertise directed at G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to create transformative medicines. Heptares is committing up to £5 million over the next three years to fund this new initiative.

ORBIT (Opportunities in Receptor Biology for Industrial Translation) 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.

The first collaboration under this new initiative is with academics at Imperial College London's National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) and is focused on an orphan receptor that is implicated in a range of immune disorders including asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Maria Belvisi, Head of the Respiratory Pharmacology group at the NHLI, and an internationally recognized expert in the respiratory field, commented: "This new collaboration between Imperial College and Heptares brings together highly complementary teams seeking to rapidly advance both basic research and drug discovery in relation to this and other GPCR targets of interest. We are thrilled to be the first partner for Heptares in this innovative new initiative and look forward to a close and productive relationship."

Fiona Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Heptares, said: "GPCRs are regarded as one of the most important families of drug targets and the opportunity for Heptares' structure-guided discovery and development capabilities to create new medicines is vast. We are delighted to launch the ORBIT initiative and excited to announce our first programme with the Respiratory Pharmacology group at Imperial College. This new strategic R&D initiative, alongside the major collaborations we have announced with pharma partners, is anticipated to rapidly expand the reach of our technology to new targets and new disease areas, leveraging expertise from our new collaborators."

For more information on ORBIT, please contact orbit@heptares.com

About GPCRs 

GPCRs are membrane proteins found in every cell in the body that are crucial to communication between cells. Their central role in many biological processes means that they are important targets for drugs: GPCRs are the site of action of about 40% of currently marketed drugs. There are over 375 GPCRs encoded in the human genome, of which 225 have known ligands and 150 are orphan targets.

Drug discovery targeting GPCRs remains challenging, however. In contrast to classes of soluble protein drug targets, such as kinases and proteases, the understanding of GPCRs has been severely hampered by the lack of structural and mechanistic knowledge and an understanding of how compounds interact with them. This has resulted in a general lack of quality GPCR drug leads advancing through pharma pipelines, high failure rates and no successful NCEs to validated high-value targets.

Heptares' unique, integrated SBDD platform offers the potential to overcome these hurdles and address this major opportunity both for the generation of small molecules and therapeutic antibodies targeting challenging or previously undruggable GPCRs.

Notes to Editors 

About Heptares Therapeutics 

Heptares is a clinical-stage company creating transformative medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a superfamily of 375 receptors linked to a wide range of human diseases. Heptares proprietary structure-based drug design technology enables us to engineer drugs for highly validated, yet historically undruggable or challenging, GPCRs. Using this approach, we have built an exciting pipeline of new medicines with the potential to transform the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, migraine, addiction, metabolic disease,  and other indications. Our pharmaceutical partners include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, MedImmune, MorphoSys and Teva. Heptares is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation. For more information, please visit http://www.heptares.com and http://www.sosei.com.

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

StaR® is a registered trademark in the EU and Japan.

About Sosei 

Sosei is a biopharmaceutical company originating from Japan but with global presence. Sosei's primary business model is based on identifying novel and/or differentiated product assets or technology platforms and, through supporting these in preclinical and clinical development and establishing commercial partnerships, advancing new medicines to patients worldwide. For more information about Sosei, please visit http://www.sosei.com .

SOURCE Heptares Therapeutics