Novartis options Heptares’ Star GPCR tech in $200m deal

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmaceutical industry

Novartis has optioned rights to apply Heptares Therapeutics’ Star GPCR technology to one of its drug development programmes in a deal that, the UK firm says, could be worth over $200m.

The accord, further terms of which have not been disclosed, follows a £7m investment in Heptares by Novartis’ option fund during the UK group’s fundraising efforts in February this year.

The Star technology enables the engineering of stabilised GPCRs, making them amenable to these vital drug discovery approaches.

There are many clinically relevant GPCR targets across a wide range of therapeutic areas where discovery is advancing slowly and for which structural information, novel screening approaches and potential antibody therapeutics would greatly enhance progress.

Heptares CEO Malcolm Weir said: “This is an excellent early deal for Heptares, endorsing our StaR technology and further strengthening our financial position.

The deal with the Novartis Option Fund demonstrates confidence that our approach can unlock the potential of GCPR targets and forms a solid foundation for other partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies​.”

Novartis Option Fund spokesperson Anja Koenig was positive about the potential of the Star platform to drive the Swiss major’s development programme.

She explained that: “We believe that the power of Heptares’ technology to resolve GPCR structures and their expertise in small molecule chemistry will lead to rapid progress in the drug discovery programme against Novartis’ nominated target.”

Sygnature

Earlier this week Heptares entered into an agreement with UK chemistry specialist provider Sygnature Chemical Services.

Under that accord, fellow UK group Sygnature will provide synthetic chemistry services for Heptares; GPCR drug development programme under a deal signed last week.

The Nottingham, UK based contract chemistry​ specialist will produce a library on novel compounds for evaluation against a range of propriety G-protein-coupled-receptors (GPCRs) targets in Heptares’ drug development programme.

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