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GEN News Highlights : Nov 29, 2012

Heptares Brings GPCR Knowledge to European Consortium

Heptares Therapeutics will assist the new Kinetics for Drug Discovery (K4DD) Consortium in discovering new drugs by investigating the kinotypic properties of drug-receptor complexes.

Heptares will join the group of European academic and industry researchers in its five-year program to study drug target classes—namely protein kinases, proteases, and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR)—by providing it with access to expertise and stabilized GPCRs as well as its broader GPCR discovery platform. That know-how includes the company’s Biophysical Mapping™ technology, designed and developed to screen and study the binding kinetics of small molecules and antibody fragments within the stabilized GPCRs or “StaRs®”.

In return, Heptares said, it will receive grant funding from the European Union that will enable it to develop its expertise and capabilities further. The Consortium is part of the EU’s €2 billion (about $2.6 billion) Innovative Medicines Initiative, and is funded with over €20 million (about $26 million) from the EU and contributions from members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Bayer HealthCare and Leiden University will coordinate the consortium, which aims to demonstrate the value of kinotypic information to early drug discovery and establish kinotype analysis as a routine part of lead compound optimization. The consortium will include 20 partners with expertise in structure elucidation, bioanalytical technologies, computational drug design, and pharmacology from top academic institutions, biotech companies, and pharmaceutical companies across Europe.

Heptares maintains a broad pipeline of drug candidates for disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, chronic insomnia, addiction disorders, migraine, and diabetes. Pharmaceutical partners include AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Shire, and Takeda.