LONDON and BOSTON, August 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Heptares Therapeutics ("Heptares"), the clinical-stage GPCR structure-guided drug discovery and development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation ("Sosei"; TSE Mothers Index: 4565), is pleased to announce that it has entered into a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca under which AstraZeneca will acquire exclusive global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, HTL-1071, a small molecule immuno-oncology candidate, and potential additional A2A receptor-blocking compounds. AstraZeneca will focus on exploring HTL-1071 and any additional compounds across a range of cancers, including in combination with its existing portfolio of immunotherapies.
Tumour cells have evolved mechanisms to evade the immune system, including through the production of a natural molecule called adenosine. By stimulating A2A receptors, adenosine stops T-cells within the immune system from proliferating and reduces their ability to destroy cancer cells. Blocking A2A receptors can therefore promote the anti-cancer response of T-cells within in the tumour microenvironment.
Under the terms of the agreement, Heptares will grant AstraZeneca an exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture and commercialise HTL-1071. The companies will also collaborate to discover further A2A receptor-blocking compounds for development in cancer immunotherapy.
Heptares will receive an upfront payment of $10 million and is eligible to receive additional, significant near term milestone payments based on agreed pre-clinical and/or clinical events. Subject to successful completion of development and commercialisation milestones, Heptares is also eligible to receive more than $500 million, as well as up to double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.
Susan Galbraith, Vice President, Head of Oncology in AstraZeneca's Innovative Medicines and Early Development Unit said: "We are pleased to expand our successful collaboration with Heptares into the exciting area of immuno-oncology research. By combining the pioneering A2A receptor programme with the strength of AstraZeneca's existing oncology portfolio, we hope to develop novel treatments with the potential to transform the lives of patients."
Malcolm Weir, Chief Executive Officer of Heptares said: "The A2A receptor programme at Heptares has been an outstanding example of our Structure Based Drug Design approach in action, resulting in a novel clinical candidate, HTL-1071, with a highly attractive profile. Heptares is targeting G-protein-coupled receptors that play a key role in cancer biology through the identification of both antibody and small molecule therapeutics. We are delighted to be entering this expanding field by partnering with AstraZeneca, an innovative leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy. This agreement further builds on our successful existing research collaboration."
This transaction is subject to customary clearances under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Notes to Editors
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: http://www.astrazeneca.com.
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.
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, ADHD, migraine, addiction, metabolic disease, and other indications. Our pharmaceutical partners include AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Cubist, MorphoSys and Takeda. Heptares is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation. For more information, please visit http://www.heptares.com and http://www.sosei.com.
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SOURCE Heptares and AstraZeneca