Sosei Heptares and PharmEnable Enter Technology Collaboration for AI-driven Drug Discovery against Challenging GPCR Target

TOKYO and CAMBRIDGE, England, Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Sosei Group Corporation ("the Company") (TSE: 4565) and PharmEnable, a UK drug discovery company, announce they have entered a collaboration to apply their respective technologies to drive novel drug discovery against a challenging G protein-couple receptor (GPCR) target associated with neurological diseases.

The collaboration will combine Sosei Heptares' world-leading GPCR-focused structure-based drug design platform, which has fully structurally enabled the GPCR target, providing detailed structural insights and an assessment of tractability, with PharmEnable's proprietary advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled and medicinal chemistry technologies (ChemUniverse and ChemSeek) to identify novel, highly specific drug leads for further development.

PharmEnable's approach identifies three-dimensional (3D) drug candidate hits with improved specificity compared with traditional screening methods and allows the company to take on particularly challenging biological targets, such as "peptidergic" GPCRs, which have proved difficult to drug using existing approaches.

The natural agonist ligand of a peptidergic GPCR is a large, complex peptide and is often very difficult to block with a small molecule, particularly one that has properties suitable for development as a therapeutic agent for neurological disease.

Under the agreement, the companies will jointly conduct and share the costs of the discovery and development program and will co-own any resulting products. No further financial details are disclosed.

Miles Congreve, Chief Scientific Officer of Sosei Heptares, commented: "We have been very impressed with PharmEnable's technology and approach, which we believe to be highly complementary to our own, offering important synergies for drug discovery on challenging GPCR targets. We are excited to apply these technologies on a peptidergic GPCR target that has proved particularly difficult to drug. We have so far assembled a wealth of structural and ligand-binding information on the target and created several promising molecules but have yet to identify compounds with sufficiently desirable neurological drug-like properties to advance into preclinical studies. Combining our respective technologies and expertise may be the key that unlocks this target and enables the identification of higher quality molecules to progress into preclinical development."

Hannah Sore, Chief Executive Officer of PharmEnable, added: "We are excited to partner with Sosei Heptares on this challenging and complex GPCR target. We have proven the strength of our platform in tapping unexplored parts of the chemical universe to find novel and specific hits for currently undruggable targets. Combining our platform with the technology and structural insights developed by Sosei Heptares should enable us to generate several potential hits, and to establish our pipeline of candidate molecules for the treatment of challenging diseases."  

About Sosei Heptares

We are an international biopharmaceutical group focused on the discovery and early development of new medicines originating from our proprietary GPCR-targeted StaR® technology and structure-based drug design platform capabilities. We are advancing a broad and deep pipeline of novel medicines across multiple therapeutic areas, including neurology, immunology, gastroenterology and inflammatory diseases. 

We have established partnerships with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Biohaven, Genentech (Roche), GSK, Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda and additionally with multiple emerging technology companies. Sosei Heptares is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with corporate and R&D facilities in Cambridge, UK. 

"Sosei Heptares" is the corporate brand and trademark of Sosei Group Corporation, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (ticker: 4565). Sosei, Heptares, the logo and StaR® are trademarks of Sosei Group companies. 

For more information, please visit https://www.soseiheptares.com/

LinkedIn: @soseiheptaresco | Twitter: @soseiheptaresco | YouTube: @soseiheptaresco

About PharmEnable

PharmEnable is a Cambridge (UK) based drug discovery company, using a combination of medicinal chemistry and AI computational approaches to design the next generation of specific and cost-efficient small molecule drugs. A spin-out from the University of Cambridge, PharmEnable is creating a pipeline of drug discovery programmes across a number of disease areas including cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

The PharmEnable platform focuses on creating chemical diversity, making potential new medicines that are 3-dimensional (3D) and inspired by nature. This innovative approach has all the advantages of small molecule drugs. In addition, the 3D structures make the molecules more specific and less likely to be toxic, opening up new possibilities for treating otherwise undruggable conditions.

For more information, please visit www.pharmenable.com

LinkedIn: @PharmEnable | Twitter: @PharmEnable

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements about the discovery, development and commercialization of products. Various risks may cause Sosei Group Corporation's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including: adverse results in clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent protection for inventions; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and commercialize products and services; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting from development efforts; the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities; and product initiatives by competitors. As a result of these factors, prospective investors are cautioned not to rely on any forward-looking statements. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Enquiries: 

Sosei Heptares - Media and Investor Relations 

Hironoshin Nomura, SVP Investor Relations and Corporate Strategy 
+81 (0)3 6679 2178 | Hironoshin.Nomura@SoseiHeptares.com

Shinichiro Nishishita, VP Investor Relations, Head of Regulatory Disclosures
+81 (0)3 5210 3399 | IR@SoseiHeptares.com

Citigate Dewe Rogerson (for Sosei Heptares)

Yas Fukuda - Japanese Media 
+81 (0)3 4360 9234 | Yas.Fukuda@citigatedewerogerson.com

Mark Swallow, David Dible - International Media 
+44 (0)20 7638 9571 | SoseiHeptares@citigatedewerogerson.com

PharmEnable 

Dr Jelena Aleksic, CBO, PharmEnable 
+44(0)779 3534121 | jelena.aleksic@pharmenable.com

Charles Consultants (for PharmEnable) 

Sue Charles 
+44 (0)7968 726585 | sue.charles59@outlook.com

SOURCE Sosei Heptares

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