CHISHIKI

Drug Discovery

Verily and Sosei Heptares Highlight Early Success of Strategic Collaboration to Identify GPCR Targets for Immune-mediated Diseases

By | Sep 1, 2022

Application of Verily Immune Profiler enables prioritization of GPCR targets with strong potential for future Drug Discovery

Drug targets selected by combining genetic or genomic data with mechanistic evidence for roles in human diseases hold the greatest potential for therapeutic development. This has formed the basis for an ongoing drug-discovery collaboration between Verily, developer of the Immune Profiler platform, and Sosei Heptares, a world-leader in G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) structure-based drug design, which in just six months has reached its first milestones in identifying and prioritizing targets that are now entering validation, hit generation, and lead selection over the next year. 

We spoke to Charlie Kim, Head of Molecular Science at Verily, and Matt Barnes, Head of UK R&D at Sosei Heptares, to find out more about this exciting progress.

 

Congratulations on the progress so far. What was the impetus behind the partnership?

Charlie Kim: This ambitious scientific effort was designed to develop more effective therapeutic options for autoimmune and other immune-mediated diseases. 

Working closely with Sosei Heptares, we have been able to prioritize GPCR targets to enter target validation studies – mainly in the immunology, gastroenterology, and immuno-oncology areas – leveraging Verily’s Immune Profiler proprietary database of high-resolution immune profiles and advanced analytical tools. 

Matt Barnes: The output of Verily’s Immune Profiler dataset combined with our internal expertise in GPCR Drug Discovery has enabled identification of priority targets that have known links to disease but weren’t the strongest signals on our radar; this has been very exciting. 

 

Could you explain how the Immune Profiler works?

Charlie: At Verily, we are taking a human-first precision approach to drug target discovery to maximize chances of success in the clinic. According to a recent Nature brief, 66% of the FDA-approved new drugs in 2021 had human genetic and/or functional genomic evidence, highlighting how important this form of evidence has become in advancing drug targets. The Immune Profiler platform uniquely powers discovery of high-confidence, human-relevant targets by combining a high-resolution immune profiling lab workflow, sophisticated analytics, and proprietary data. 

Specifically, our patented Xseq lab workflow generates over 8 million immune measures across 24 immune cell subsets, which serves as a rich starting point for discovering novel immunobiology that includes the next generation of better drug targets. Our analytics portfolio is optimized for integration of Xseq and other multi-omic data and leverages cutting-edge computational approaches spanning genetics-driven, subset-specific and comparative analyses. Our growing proprietary database includes rich multi-omic profiles and clinical data across multiple diseases with significant unmet clinical needs. 

 

What are the next steps in this collaboration?

Charlie: This achievement demonstrates our ability to identify novel drug targets using the Immune Profiler platform. In addition, there are a lot of patients living with immune-mediated disease who are dissatisfied with their current therapies, and the progress of the collaboration underscores Verily’s commitment to precision health through unlocking novel therapeutic options. We’re excited to see these targets proceed into validation studies.

 

Matt: We’re eager to further progress our understanding of these targets, and in collaboration with Verily we are now advancing them into focused validation studies to gain experimental evidence to further support progressing these targets into discovery, which will generate lead molecules in the next year.. We are also now exploring additional collaboration opportunities with Verily.

 

About Verily Immune Profiler

Immune Profiler is a sophisticated immune mapping platform developed in-house, which combines laboratory phenotyping and advanced computational analysis techniques to generate clinically actionable insights from high-resolution profiles of the immune system. By obtaining a more precise understanding of immune-mediated disease and partnering with drug developers, we aim to improve the management of disease through having more therapeutic options and knowing how to best deploy them.