Heptares Therapeutics said today it will partner with Pfizer to develop new drugs aimed at up to 10 G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets across multiple therapeutic areas.
The collaboration could generate up to $1.89 billion-plus if new drugs are developed across all 10 envisioned targets, based on $189 million per target in payments tied to achieving research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.
Heptares said it will apply its GPCR structure-guided platform to help deliver stabilized GPCRs or “StaR®” proteins, as well as high-resolution crystal structures and other technologies—all to support the discovery of potential new therapies against GPCR targets to be selected by Pfizer.
Pfizer will oversee development and commercialization of any potential therapeutic agents—whether small molecules or biologics derived from StaR antigens—for each target. The pharma giant will also have exclusive global rights to any potential resulting agents from the collaboration, which was announced a week after Pfizer announced it will acquire Allergan for $160 billion.
In addition to the milestone payments, Heptares said it will receive an undisclosed upfront payment upon signing the agreement, in return for delivering unspecified StaR proteins and structures for Pfizer-selected targets that it has already generated. Heptares is also eligible for tiered royalties on the net sales of any products that are commercialized by Pfizer.
Additionally a Pfizer entity, Pfizer Seiyaku KK, will purchase $33 million of newly issued common stock of Heptares parent company Sosei Group at a premium of 25% to the average closing price during the 20 days preceding the closing date—which is expected to occur in December. The investment, which will represent approximately 3.02% of Sosei share capital, is subject to review by Japanese financial authorities.
“This extensive partnership with Pfizer is an important step toward realizing full potential of Heptares' technology,” Sosei Group CEO Shinichi Tamura said in a statement.
Heptares focuses on treatments targeting historically undruggable GPCRs, a superfamily of 375 receptors linked to a wide range of human diseases. Heptares has applied its structure-based drug design technology to engineer drugs for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, cancer (immuno-oncology), migraine, addiction, metabolic disease, and other indications.
In addition to Pfizer, Heptares has partnered to develop its technology with AstraZeneca and its global biologics R&D arm MedImmune, as well as MorphoSys and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.