Press release
Mar 20, 2020

Sosei Heptares announces new publication highlighting the potential of structure-based approaches to generate novel peptide-based drugs targeting GPCRs

  • Published in leading peer-reviewed journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

  • The review results from a successful collaboration with international  research group at the University of Cambridge

  • Demonstrates the unique capability of Sosei Heptares’ platform to enable peptide, as well as small molecule, lead generation against disease-relevant GPCRs – providing multiple partnering opportunities


Tokyo, Japan and London, UK, 20 March 2020 – Sosei Group Corporation (“the Company”; TSE: 4565) announces that a review article entitled ‘Advances in Therapeutic Peptides Targeting G Protein-coupled Receptors’ (Davenport et al. see below) has been published by Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, a prestigious and highly influential peer-reviewed journal. The article has resulted from a successful collaboration between Sosei Heptares and a leading international research group at the University of Cambridge led by Professor Anthony Davenport.


In the article, the authors systematically review the development of peptide-based drugs targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and the still significant opportunities that exist to apply unique insights from 3D GPCR structures to generate new and improved peptide therapeutics. Nearly 50 GPCR peptide drugs have been approved to date, most of them for metabolic disease or oncology indications, and more than 10 potentially first-in-class peptide therapeutics are in the pipeline.


Professor Davenport, from the Department of Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapeutics at the University of Cambridge, commented: “Peptide therapeutics have been around for about 100 years and are now undergoing a renaissance with revolutionary strategies being employed to improve their attributes as effective drugs (pharmacodynamics and  pharmacokinetics). Excitingly, there are still another 50 or so ‘orphan’ GPCRs, many linked with diseases, for which there is no approved drug and these remain to be exploited clinically.” 


The article focuses on the new discovery strategies that leverage cutting-edge structure-based technologies, including Sosei Heptares’ unique StaR® platform and cryo-EM, to generate novel and selective peptides with precisely designed activities and improved drug-like (pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic) properties. Such peptides include agonists, antagonists, as well as peptides designed to activate specific downstream signalling pathways (biased ligands), and dual agonists that activate two different GPCRs.  


The generation of novel, precisely designed peptide leads against disease-relevant GPCRs provides multiple partnering opportunities for Sosei Heptares.


Miles Congreve, Chief Scientific Officer of Sosei Heptares, said: “Sosei Heptares is uniquely placed to apply its technology and expertise to the generation of peptide-based drugs against GPCRs. This is a rapidly expanding field with multiple opportunities, which have been highlighted in this high-quality, comprehensive review. While our prime focus is on the discovery of small molecule leads, our StaR® platform and structure-based design expertise has already proved its capability to generate and optimize new peptide leads against target GPCRs. This expanded reach of our technology into peptide drugs allows us to develop further potential products for which we will look to generate value from via proactive targeting of appropriate partners.”



Davenport, A.P. et al. Advances in therapeutic peptides targeting G protein- coupled receptors. Nature Rev. Drug Disc. (2020)


Davenport Laboratory, Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapeutics, University of Cambridge.


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