LONDON & ZURICH, Switzerland—Late in 2016, Heptares Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corp., signed a share purchase agreement to acquire 100 percent of G7 Therapeutics, a privately held drug discovery and development company based in Switzerland, for 12 million Swiss francs in cash (about $11.75 million).
The strategic acquisition broadens and strengthens Heptares’ intellectual property and platform for structure-based drug design and development focused on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a superfamily of receptors linked to a wide range of human diseases.
The combination of Heptares’ and G7 Therapeutics’ platforms is anticipated to increase Heptares’ R&D productivity in terms of generating stabilized GPCRs and high-quality GPCR structures that underpin discovery efforts for its proprietary pipeline and for partners.
G7 Therapeutics has developed proprietary approaches for stabilizing GPCRs (called SaBRE and CHESS), which are different and highly complementary to the StaR platform developed by Heptares. SaBRE and CHESS are of particular use where the target GPCR is present in very low numbers on cells and the methods are particularly powerful in the numbers of stabilizing mutations that can be identified in a short time for rapidly generating high-quality GPCRs.
Upon completion of the acquisition in November, G7 Therapeutics became a wholly owned Zurich-based subsidiary of Heptares and plans called for renaming the company Heptares Zurich. The subsidiary will be led by Fiona Marshall, chief scientific officer at Heptares and at Sosei.
“We are delighted to complete the acquisition G7 Therapeutics,” said Marshall. “We believe that the platform G7 has developed is truly complementary to our StaR platform and will expand our capacity to explore more of the ‘GPCRome’ to deliver novel candidates against targeted GPCRs for both our proprietary pipeline and for partnered programs.”
Carlo Bertozzi, CEO of G7 Therapeutics, added: “Heptares has an impressive track record of technology development resulting in a world-leading platform that has generated multiple product opportunities targeting many GPCR targets across diverse disease areas. We are excited to combine our platforms and capabilities through this transaction and to further advance GPCR-targeted drug discovery, an area of significant untapped potential.”
“Approximately 30 percent of approved medicines in pharmaceutical company portfolios today act by modulating GPCR activity, making GPCRs one of if not the most important target families for drug discovery and a major pillar upon which the global industry has been built,” concluded Peter Bains, CEO of Sosei. “Heptares has already established a world-leading position in this area, building a diverse pipeline of proprietary candidates as well as attracting major pharma company partners. This acquisition is a further step towards delivering Sosei’s strategy by consolidating and extending this leadership position, and expanding our capacity to generate a sustainable pipeline of new drug candidates for development ourselves in select disease areas, and for our partners.”