Japanese-owned Heptares plans relocation to Cambridge, UK

Heptares Therapeutics, a leading GPCR medicine design and development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese Sosei Group Corporation, has announced its plans to relocate to a new state-of-the-art facility at Granta Park, Cambridge, UK. The move to new premises follows Heptares’ rapid expansion in recent years and is intended to support the company’s plans for progressing to market its own products derived from its G protein-coupled receptor drug discovery and development activities, as well as to continue advancing its broad pipeline of projects partnered with leading pharmaceutical companies.
The 35,000 square foot facility will house all of the company’s UK R&D team, with growth of its Zurich operation continuing uninterrupted. Heptares plans to move to the new facility in the second half of 2018, by which time it expects to employ over 130 highly skilled staff drawn from around the world, focused on discovery and clinical development of novel small molecules and biologics derived from its unique GPCR-focused structure-based drug design platform.
Malcolm Weir, Chief Executive Officer of Heptares and Chief R&D Officer of Sosei Group, said: “In relocating to Granta Park, Heptares is building a world-leading centre for the design and development of novel medicines targeting GPCRs – the most important family of drug targets in the pharmaceutical industry and the source of more than 40% of approved drugs. We have built an exceptional and truly international team in the UK, which has been crucial for our success to date. We anticipate that with enhanced links to the first-class research environment of Cambridge, whilst still maintaining links to the equivalent biomedical centres of excellence in London and Oxford, we can reinforce our world-leading position.”
Peter Bains, CEO of Sosei, added: “We are delighted with the very strong progress Heptares has made since it was acquired by Sosei in 2015. At that time, we stated our commitment to establishing Heptares as our core drug discovery and development engine to fuel our organic growth and partnering strategies. We are proud to fulfil this commitment through continued investment in Heptares and in this exciting move to state-of-the-art facilities in Cambridge.”
Heptares’ new facility will be named The Steinmetz Building as a tribute to Michael Steinmetz, who passed away in 2016. Michael, through US venture capital firm Clarus Ventures, was a crucial early investor in Heptares, and made a significant contribution to the development and success of the company in his role as a Board Director between 2007 and 2015.
Heptares is a clinical-stage company creating transformative medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a superfamily of 375 receptors linked to a wide range of human diseases. Heptares’ proprietary StaR® technology and structure-based drug design (SBDD) capabilities enable us to engineer and develop drugs for highly validated, yet historically undruggable or challenging GPCRs. Using this approach, we are building an exciting pipeline of new medicines (small molecules and biologics) with the potential to transform the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, cancer immune-oncology, migraine, addiction, metabolic disease and other indications. We have partnerships for our novel candidates and technologies with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Allergan, AstraZeneca, Daiichi Sankyo, Kymab, MedImmune, MorphoSys, Pfizer and Teva.
Heptares is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation. Sosei is a biopharmaceutical company originating from Japan but with global presence. Sosei’s primary business model is based on identifying novel and/or differentiated product assets or technology platforms and, through supporting these in preclinical and clinical development and establishing commercial partnerships, advancing new medicines to patients worldwide.