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19 May, 2021 - 13:04 By Tony Quested

Sosei Heptares increases financial haul from Pfizer pact

Sosei Heptares, anchored in Cambridge UK and Tokyo, has earned fresh millions from Pfizer following news that the third novel drug candidate from the companies’ multi-target drug discovery collaboration has started clinical trials.

Dosing the first patient in the trial has triggered the latest windfall amounting to $5m. The candidate nominated by Pfizer is an MC4 receptor antagonist targeting anorexia.

It is the ninth GPCR-targeted drug candidate overall generated from Sosei Heptares’ StaR® technology/SBDD platform to enter clinical development.
This candidate was nominated for advancement by Pfizer in December 2019 generating a $3m milestone payment at that time. 

Pfizer nominated three distinct clinical candidates from the collaboration with Sosei Heptares during 2019, all of which are now progressing in Phase I clinical trials. 

These candidates have also now been disclosed by Pfizer as:-

  • PF-07081532 (an oral GLP1 receptor agonist for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity)
  • PF-07054894 (a CCR6 antagonist targeting Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and
  • PF-07258669 (an MC4 receptor antagonist for Anorexia)

At the outset of this agreement Pfizer invested $33m for an equity stake and paid an undisclosed upfront fee; since then there have been multiple smaller technical milestone payments plus an additional $24m purely in terms of the three candidates that have now entered trials.

Dr Rob Cooke, chief technology officer of Sosei Heptares, said: “The start of clinical trials with this new clinical candidate is a further important milestone in our highly productive and longstanding collaboration with Pfizer. 

“It is a clear demonstration of the power of our structure-based design and discovery capabilities when combined with the complementary development expertise of a truly collaborative partner. 

“This productivity is further exemplified by the fact that nine candidates derived from our platform have entered clinical trials across multiple disease areas, with more than 20 active programs underway either with partners or in house. 

“This broad portfolio of exciting new drug candidates has potential to address significant unmet need globally and generate significant future value for shareholders.”

Sosei Heptares has established partnerships with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Biohaven, Genentech (Roche), Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda and additionally with multiple emerging technology companies.

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