business agreement handshakeSosei Group announces that its subsidiaries, Heptares Therapeutics and Jitsubo Co., Ltd, have entered into a collaboration to develop novel peptide candidates designed to target a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) implicated in severe gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.

This represents the first strategic collaboration between Sosei subsidiaries, highlighting the complementary platforms at its disposal for the discovery and development of a sustainable pipeline of innovative therapeutics targeting diseases with unmet need.

Under the collaboration, Jitsubo will apply its Peptune and Molecular Hiving peptide engineering technologies and medicinal chemistry capabilities to a GPCR target selected by both Jitsubo and Heptares.

Heptares has significant insights into the 3D structure of the receptor via its proprietary StaR platform. The target GPCR plays an important role in several GI indications and is currently in discovery phase. Heptares will be responsible for development and commercialization of any peptide candidates that emerge from the collaboration, and will make payments to Jitsubo on achievement of agreed milestones, plus royalties on future sales of any resulting products.

No further details are disclosed.

Yusuke Kohno, CEO and cofounder of Jitsubo, said: “Heptares’ StaR proteins provide an ideal model to apply Jitsubo’s proprietary peptide design and engineering capabilities. We are delighted to begin this first collaboration with Heptares that has the potential to demonstrate the combined power of our platforms for creating novel and highly selective peptide therapeutics targeting important protein receptors.”

Fiona Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer at Heptares and Chief Scientific Officer at Sosei, added: “There are a significant number of GPCRs with strong biological and clinical validation for their role in disease, and whose functions are modulated by peptides. This collaboration, which brings together the complementary platforms of Heptares and Jitsubo, provides an exciting opportunity for Heptares to expand its proprietary pipeline of novel small molecule therapeutics and biologics. We are particularly keen to leverage this collaboration to generate new peptide drug candidates that Heptares can develop itself.”

Peter Bains, Representative Executive Officer, CEO at Sosei, added: “Sosei has built a strong foundation of enabling technologies through M&A in recent years and is focused on leveraging these to deliver a sustainable flow of new drug candidates into our proprietary pipeline. We are very pleased therefore to see this first collaboration between Jitsubo and Heptares, which demonstrates the complementarity of their innovative platforms, and we look forward seeing this programme advance.”