The multi-target partnership will see Sosei work with Takeda to discover, develop, and commercialize molecules for G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets using the companies existing drug design technology, StaR.
Takeda’s discovery and development experience will be used as the companies access the GPCR-focused structure-based drug design capabilities at Sosei Heptares to advance drug candidates.
A spokesperson for Sosei Heptares told us that the company has been working to optimize its GPCR technology for years and it can now rapidly be used from target to candidate. As a result of this, the spokesperson said more candidates can be worked on enabling it to be used in partnerships with big pharma companies like Takeda.
The molecule candidates will be directed at targets nominated by Takeda, each of which represent therapeutic intervention points across a range of diseases. The partnership will begin with a focus on gastrointestinal targets but extend into other therapeutic areas.
“Sosei Heptares, like Takeda, has a proud heritage in Japan. This imbues both companies with a strong set of values and a powerful work ethic to create new medicines for patients in need around the world and in doing so builds a successful, global company,” said Shinichi Tamura, chairman, president, and CEO of Sosei Heptares.
The spokesperson added that growth in outsourcing partnerships within the Asia-Pacific region is occurring and pharma companies have been increasingly seeking innovation from smaller companies.
According to the spokesperson, this trend is exemplified by partnerships between Japan-based pharma companies and biotechs, including AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, Genentech and Sosei Heptares, as well the partnership between Takeda and Sosei.
Per the partnership agreement, Sosei Heptares is eligible to receive up to $26m (€23.2m) in upfront and near-term payments. Additional research funding, plus future development, commercialization and net sales-based milestones payments may exceed $1.2bn.
Sosei Heptares will also have the option to receive tiered royalties on net sales of any licensed products by Takeda that result from this partnership. Takeda, however, receives exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize therapeutic agents for each novel target through specified pharmacological approaches in the collaboration.