Roche partners with Sosei Heptares to develop drugs that modulate GPCR targets

Roche's Genentech unit entered into a multi-target research collaboration and license agreement with Sosei Heptares to develop small molecules and biologics that modulate G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets, the latter company said Tuesday. James Sabry, global head of pharma partnering at Roche, explained "we believe GPCRs are an important target class that play a role in many serious diseases."

Under the agreed terms, Sosei will direct its GPCR-focused structure-based drug design capabilities towards multiple GPCR targets nominated by Genentech across a range of diseases. Meanwhile, Genentech will be responsible for developing and commercialising potential new medicines for each target and will have exclusive global rights to these agents.

Sosei noted that it is eligible to $26 million in upfront and near-term payments, in addition to future milestone payments that may exceed $1 billion for achieving pre-specified research, development and commercialisation events. Further, Sosei is eligible to receive royalty payments on net sales of potential future medicines resulting from the collaboration.

Sosei has a number of deals focused on developing drugs against GPCR targets, including with Pfizer, Jitsubo and Daiichi Sankyo.

Separately on Tuesday, Genentech entered an agreement with Skyhawk Therapeutics to develop small molecules that modulate RNA splicing, with a focus on certain oncology and neurological disease targets, as well as signing a pact with Convelo Therapeutics to develop remyelinating medicines for patients with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

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