Press release
Jun 28, 2017

Sosei Subsidiary Heptares Enters a New Research and Drug Discovery Collaboration under its “ORBIT” Initiative with New York University School of Medicine

Tokyo, Japan – 28 June 2017: Sosei Group Corporation (“Sosei”; TSE Mothers Index: 4565) today reports that Heptares Therapeutics (“Heptares”), its wholly-owned subsidiary, announced the launch of a new research collaboration under its ORBIT initiative with New York University (NYU) School of Medicine.

This new collaboration will support a multi-year programme with NYU’s drug discovery accelerator group, the Office of Therapeutics Alliances (OTA) and the lab of Assistant Professor Dimitris Placantonakis, an expert on the pathology and treatment of brain tumours, at the Neurosurgical Laboratory for Stem Cell Research, in the Department of Neurosurgery at the NYU School of Medicine. Research activities will focus on the discovery of novel molecules that selectively modulate a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) implicated in the formation and progression of glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Heptares and NYU will jointly fund the initial discovery phase of the programme. Heptares has an exclusive option to license intellectual property relevant to the target, and to take any promising compounds further through development and potentially to commercialisation. NYU is eligible to receive milestone payments on any compounds that advance from the discovery phase and royalty payments on sales of any products that reach the market.

Assistant Prof. Placantonakis commented: “Our understanding of the role of this GPCR target in glioblastoma has advanced significantly in recent years. We are excited to begin translating that knowledge with Heptares, through application of its unique structure-based approach, into much needed drug candidates for this highly aggressive and poorly treated cancer.”

Nadim Shohdy, Assistant Dean and Director of OTA added: “Our founding principle is that the probability of success is maximized by combining the best academic expertise in identifying, validating and delineating novel disease pathways, with the best industry expertise in translating such findings into viable paths to drug development. Given Heptares’ strengths and many successes in drugging novel GPCR targets, we couldn't have asked for a better collaborator.”

Fiona Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer of Heptares and Sosei, said: “The philosophy behind our ORBIT programmes is to work with leading experts who are at the forefront of understanding the roles of specific GPCRs in human disease, and to apply our combined expertise and technological capabilities to develop better medicines to treat devastating diseases. This new collaboration with Assistant Prof. Placantonakis and NYU OTA is an excellent example of this philosophy in action and we are excited by the potential it offers to find new therapies for patients with brain tumours.”