Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Heptares and UK Medical Research Council Extend GPCR Collaboration

June 19, 2012

WELWYN GARDEN CITY, England, and BOSTON, June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

Heptares Therapeutics, the leading GPCR drug discovery company, has extended its
collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), including its leading research
groups at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB, Cambridge, UK) and MRC National
Institute of Medical Research (NIMR, London, UK), on the structure and active
conformations of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and other transmembrane proteins.
Building upon their existing relationship with the MRC, and in particular the group led by
Chris Tate at the MRC LMB – an internationally recognised expert in structural biology of
integral membrane proteins – Heptares will own certain IP and technology in the field,
including that pertaining to agonist-induced GPCR states responsible for cell signalling,
a key area for drug design.

“Our collaboration with the MRC over the past five years has increased our fundamental
understanding of GPCR structure and function tremendously,” said Malcolm Weir, CEO of
Heptares Therapeutics. “Applying this knowledge has enabled Heptares to establish a
leadership position in GPCR-targeted drug discovery and to create a structure-based
discovery platform capable of addressing one of the most important but challenging target
families. Continuing this relationship with MRC will ensure Heptares remains at the
forefront of GPCR research and we are very pleased to continue working together.”

Dave Tapolczay, CEO of MRC Technology, the MRC’s technology transfer agent, said,
“This collaboration between the MRC and Heptares is a great example of how world-class UK
science can be developed in a commercial environment. The MRC has been responsible for
some of the most important scientific discoveries of the past century, and it is exciting
to see this collaboration developing into a real success story.”

Heptares was founded in 2007 based on the pioneering research into GPCR stabilisation
and structure carried out at the MRC LMB and NIMR. Since then, the Company has greatly
advanced, streamlined and integrated this technology to create a powerful structure-based
drug discovery platform that is enabling the generation of novel drug candidates that are
potent and highly selective for important, yet previously poorly drugged or undruggable,
GPCRs. The potential of this platform has also been recognized by pharmaceutical companies
seeking to unlock the potential of GPCRs, enabling the Company to sign drug discovery
deals with companies including AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Shire and Takeda.

About Heptares Therapeutics

Heptares discovers and develops new medicines targeting GPCRs (G-protein-coupled
receptors), a super-family of drug targets linked to a wide range of human diseases. The
company has licensed its first drug candidate to Shire, established R&D collaborations
with Takeda, AstraZeneca and MedImmune, and raised $40M in venture financing from MVM Life
Science Partners, Clarus Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Takeda Ventures. Heptares is
an industry pioneer in GPCR structure-based drug design and has built a unique capability
for discovering novel molecules that modulate historically undruggable or challenging
GPCRs. Our integrated discovery platform includes proprietary technologies for engineering
stabilised GPCRs in their natural pharmacological conformations, identifying previously
unknown chemistries for GPCR protein-drug interactions, and deploying advanced
fragment-based approaches to GPCR target space for the first time. Using this approach, we
are generating a broad pipeline of drug candidates for serious CNS and metabolic
disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, autism,
anxiety & depression, chronic insomnia, addiction and diabetes. For more information,
please visit http://www.heptares.com.

About the Medical Research Council

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in
the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in
world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing
environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact
and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs,
including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal
link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the
major health challenges of the 21st century.


About MRC Technology

MRC Technology is a technology transfer company responsible for translating cutting
edge scientific discoveries into commercial products. MRC Technology adds value to cutting
edge scientific discoveries through strategic patent protection and creative licensing of
intellectual property (IP), through partnered research or through further scientific
development. MRC Technology also has small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic
antibody facilities, providing lead stage therapeutic assets to pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies.


SOURCE Heptares Therapeutics

Source: PR Newswire