Firm set to receive over $1bn from research partnerships

UK drug discovery and development company Heptares has entered a string of drug discovery collaborations with major pharmaceutical firms, potentially worth over $1 billion (£660 million). The firm will use its expertise in stabilising G-protein coupled receptors for drug assays and crystallography to support a variety of drug development programmes.

Heptares has granted AstraZeneca (AZ) exclusive global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise immuno-oncology candidate HTL-1071. Heptares will receive an up-front payment of $10 million, with more than $500 million available upon completion of development milestones.

The company has also entered a licensing and drug discovery agreement with Teva, granting exclusive global rights to gene related peptide antagonists for migraine treatment. After an up-front payment of $10 million, Heptares is eligible for $400 million in development milestones, plus royalties on sales of any resulting drug.

Additionally, Heptares will collaborate with Pfizer over a range of small molecules for targets across multiple therapeutic areas. The company will receive an initial payment, plus milestones of up to $189 million per target and royalties on drug sales. Pfizer will also buy a $33 million stake in Sosei  – the Japanese group that bought Heptares for $400 million earlier this year.

The deals follow on from a series of collaborations with large and speciality pharmaceutical firms. Heptares has successfully completed a number of scientific milestones in deals with AstraZeneca, Cubist (now part of Merck & Co in the US) and Takeda, and received significant payments related to these achievements.