Tokyo, Japan and Cambridge, UK, 26 April 2022 – Sosei Group Corporation (“the Company”; TSE: 4565) today announces a strategic collaboration with Weatherden, a pioneering clinical development consulting group. The collaboration aims to build upon Sosei Heptares’ world-leading G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) structure-based drug design (SBDD) platform and expertise and Weatherden’s translational medicine and drug development expertise to create an agile operating model supported by best-in-class drug discovery and development teams. The goal being to accelerate the prioritization and progression of multiple pipeline programs through Phase 1b/2a trials to establish clinical proof-of-concept. This stage represents a key value inflection point that Sosei Heptares intends to achieve as part of its evolution to become a multi-program, clinical-stage biotech company.
By leveraging Weatherden’s extensive experience, scientific expertise and data driven approach, together with its commercial focus on pharmaceutical asset evaluation and development, Sosei Heptares is bringing together the operational and technical expertise needed to enable a ‘venture-like’ capital allocation approach to pipeline development.
In this way, the Company aims to optimize decision-making and value generation by:
“Sosei Heptares’ world-leading platform gives us access to more GPCR drug discovery opportunities than can be tackled in a lifetime. It is essential to our long-term success that we continually enhance our ability to identify and prioritize these opportunities to optimize value creation for patients and shareholders,” said Chris Cargill, President and CEO of Sosei Heptares. “Sosei Heptares has an exceptional opportunity to embed agile, program-centric operating practices across its discovery and early development activities to be as efficient and productive as possible. We are uniquely positioned to do this because our expanding discovery platform has the potential to produce an abundance of new, high-quality drug candidates to which VC-like capital allocation and a ‘quick win/fast fail’ approach can be applied.
“By focusing on translational medicine, which we see as the R&D ‘sweet spot’ for investment in new programs, we will rigorously ‘test the hypothesis’ earlier during more economical phases of drug development to optimize our pipeline decisions going forward. This agile approach will allow us to rapidly advance only programs we believe have the best probability of success through to proof-of-concept, with strong product profiles, and the potential to become the life-changing therapeutics of the future.
“We are excited to be partnering with Weatherden, whose experience across the early development stage, and particularly in translational medicine, complements Sosei Heptares’ existing expertise in early-stage drug discovery. We look forward to a dynamic, and productive partnership as we look to maximize the value from our extensive pipeline and support major partnering transaction opportunities to fund our continued expansion and maximize returns.”
Emma Tinsley, CEO of Weatherden, added: “The sheer scale of the GPCR opportunity alongside Sosei Heptares’ ability to exploit this area makes this collaboration extremely exciting. Our track record in efficiently designing and delivering Phase 1b/2a clinical trials will be of great benefit to support Sosei Heptares in its transition to a multi clinical-stage asset company. We are looking forward to working closely with the Sosei Heptares team to enhance its pipeline development approach. We are confident that by combining our skills and experience, the Company will be well positioned to drive its programs forward efficiently and effectively, and to fully realise the potential of its innovative technology and accelerate the progress of much needed medicines for patients worldwide.”
In March 2022, Sosei Heptares announced changes to its senior leadership designed to support its new growth strategy and the enhanced focus on translational medicine. The Company has already made progress towards this goal through the addition of expertise internally, and through entering collaborations with innovative technology companies. This has already yielded novel targets and new ways of exploring and exploiting the Company’s platform and this latest collaboration with Weatherden provides another important element in maximizing the value of these advances.
The strategic collaboration with Weatherden will initially focus on supporting the translational medicine and clinical development plans for the Company’s H4 antagonist and GPR52 agonist programs. There is no change to the Company’s forecast R&D expense guidance for FY2022.