Press release
Dec 7, 2021

Sosei Heptares Receives Grant Funding from Wellcome to Advance the Development of Potent, Differentiated Oral Anti-Viral Small Molecules to Treat COVID-19

  • Funding comes through the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which was set up by Wellcome, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard


Tokyo, Japan and Cambridge, UK, 7 December 2021 – Sosei Group Corporation (“the Company”; TSE: 4565) today announced it has received grant funding from Wellcome, through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. The funding will be used to advance the pre-clinical development of the Company’s novel oral anti-viral small molecules targeting the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro), an enzyme critical to SARS-CoV-2 replication, as potential treatments for COVID-19.

Sosei Heptares initiated its COVID-19 R&D program in April 2020 with the aim of applying its world-leading structure-based drug design capabilities to design drug candidates that selectively inhibit Mpro. The Company has also been leveraging the highly conserved structure of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro as a basis for the design of small molecules that could be effective against predicted future variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other related human viruses.  

The Company’s most advanced candidate resulting from this program, SH-879, has demonstrated potent anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2 as well as potential for oral dosing and a differentiated profile from other anti-viral drugs for COVID-19 that are either approved or in late-stage development.

Sosei Heptares will deploy the funding from Wellcome to accelerate development of SH-879 and other potential candidates through preclinical studies, targeting the nomination of a single clinical candidate for human trials with a convenient dosing regime and the potential for use without the need for co-dosing with other anti-viral therapies.

This work is being supported by a Wellcome grant through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator was launched in March 2020 by Wellcome, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard, with additional funding from a range of donors to accelerate the development of COVID-19 therapeutics that address gaps in existing treatment research.

Miles Congreve, Chief Scientific Officer of Sosei Heptares, commented: “The past 18 months has seen incredible progress in the development of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19. We are very proud to be participating in this global effort and excited by our progress and the future potential of our own program to create an effective anti-viral agent that can be dosed as a single agent. The program will benefit from the significant additional funding received from Wellcome and we are delighted to have this prestigious organization as a partner in this endeavor.”

Sosei Heptares acknowledges its collaborators on this program, including Syngene International, Domainex, Fidelta, o2h Discovery, Piramal, WuXi AppTec and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).