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12 June, 2019 - 22:03 By Kate Sweeney

Sosei Heptares racks up more milestone millions as Pfizer announces $3m payout

Malcolm Weir

Cambridge based Sosei Heptares has maintained a hot streak of milestone payments running into multimillions in the last couple of months via a fresh payout from Big Pharma company Pfizer.

Sosei Heptares will receive a $3 million milestone payment after Pfizer announced that a new clinical candidate from the companies’ multi-target drug discovery collaboration was nominated to advance into clinical development. The first clinical candidate under this collaboration was nominated by Pfizer in May and also brought in $3m for the Cambridge company.

The fresh windfall follows a fortnight after Sosei Heptares earned a $2.5m milestone payment from another partner, Novartis.

Dr Malcolm Weir, executive VP and chief R & D officer of Sosei Heptares, said: “We are very pleased to reach this development milestone for another candidate in our partnership with Pfizer so soon after nominating the first clinical candidate last month. 

“The teams at Sosei Heptares and Pfizer have worked well together to generate and advance a novel molecule against a difficult GPCR target, highlighting again the power and potential of this approach and the combined capabilities being deployed.”

The multi-target drug discovery collaboration between Sosei Heptares and Pfizer was signed in November 2015 to research and develop potential new medicines directed at up to 10 GPCR targets across multiple therapeutic areas. 

Many of these targets have clinical or biological validation as key points for therapeutic intervention potentially targeting a range of diseases but have proven difficult to address with conventional discovery approaches because of inherent technical challenges.

In an effort to address these challenges, Sosei Heptares and Pfizer scientists worked closely to leverage their respective complementary expertise in enabling GPCR-focused structure-based drug design and development initially directed to the GPCR targets selected by Pfizer. 

Pfizer will be responsible for developing and commercialising any potential therapeutic agents (small molecules or biologics) for each target and will have exclusive global rights to any potential resulting agents.

Further possible milestones payments are contemplated under the agreement, with potential for royalties also payable provided the criteria under the deal are satisfied.

Pfizer  made a $33m equity investment in Sosei Heptares in 2015. In the future, Pfizer and Sosei Heptares anticipate publication of select research findings from their collaboration.

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