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12 May, 2021 - 14:08 By Tony Quested

Sosei Heptares pursues exciting growth opportunities

Life science company Sosei Heptares, which has major operations in Cambridge UK, has brushed aside widening losses to highlight major growth opportunities that should substantially swell its coffers in the months ahead.

The company has managed to add muscle to its R & D strategy and fatten its war chest in the first quarter to March 31 despite the Covid pandemic. 

Shinichi Tamura, chairman, president and CEO, told shareholders to buckle up for an exciting ride in the rest of this year and into 2022.

He said: “We continue to make good progress expanding our drug discovery business and remain well positioned to capitalise on a range of growth opportunities. 

“We have initiated several exciting new technology collaborations designed to enhance our world-leading discovery platform and extend the reach of its application, including beyond GPCRs for the first time.

“We have made good progress with our partnered programs, which have delivered multiple milestones and generated important revenues since the start of the year.

“Meanwhile, our inhouse programs provide us with a rich source of future partnering opportunities that we are exploring. We have ambitious plans and expect 2021 to be a year of increased investment in strategic growth initiatives, both organic and inorganic, and believe we have the right strategy to deliver continued success and value creation for all stakeholders.”

The company recently agreed a new strategic technology collaboration with Cambridge neighbour PharmEnable for AI-driven drug discovery with the aim of identifying fresh leads against a challenging peptidergic GPCR target.

Also Cambridge-centric, it further revealed a first strategic collaboration to explore SBDD approaches beyond GPCRs with Metrion Biosciences – a collaboration targeting ion channels, a large, under-exploited target class where structural input to drug discovery has been limited. 

Several other global collaborations have been initiated and a number of alliances are already bearing fruit. Two milestone payments totalling $4 million were received from Genentech during the quarter and a $2.5m milestone payment was received from Formosa Pharmaceuticals – based on progression of APP13007, a divested asset, into Phase 3 trials as a new potential treatment for pain and inflammation following cataract surgery.

Q1 revenue totalled $11.4m, an increase of $0.7m year-on-year, but the net loss widened to $10.9m from $6.9m as the growth strategies were fast-tracked.

Cash and equivalents at March 31, 2021 increased by $3.7m from the beginning of the year to $364.8m.

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