Sosei Heptares has announced that it is to receive a new $3 million milestone payment from its strategic alliance partner Pfizer, as it advances a second candidate from the GPCR collaboration for clinical development.

The first clinical candidate under this collaboration was nominated by Pfizer in May 2019, after the deal was initially signed in November 2015 to research and develop potential new medicines directed at up to ten GPCR targets across multiple therapeutic areas.

Many of these targets have clinical or biological validation as key points for therapeutic intervention potentially targeting a range of diseases but have proven difficult to address with conventional discovery approaches because of inherent technical challenges.

Because of these challenges, Sosei and Pfizer scientists worked closely together to leverage their joint expertise in enabling GPCR-focused structure-based drug design (SBDD) and development initially directed to the GPCR targets selected by Pfizer.

Under the agreement Pfizer will be responsible for developing and commercialising any potential therapeutic agents (small molecules or biologics) for each target and will have exclusive global rights to any potential resulting agents.

Sosei are “Very pleased to reach this development milestone for another candidate in our partnership with Pfizer so soon after nominating the first clinical candidate last month,” according to Dr Malcolm Weir, executive VP and chief R&D officer.

He continued, “The teams at Sosei Heptares and Pfizer have worked well together to generate and advance a novel molecule against a difficult GPCR target, highlighting again the power and potential of this approach and the combined capabilities being deployed."