Sosei Heptares partners with UK-based cancer research organization to trial drug – Endpoints News

Cancer research has been a focus of Sosei Heptares for several years, and their latest deal hopes to advance one of their new therapies.

On Friday, the Japanese company signed an agreement with Cancer Research UK to bring one of its cancer drug candidates into the clinic. According to Sosei, the agreement will allow Cancer Research UK to conduct a Phase I/IIa trial of Sosei’s cancer candidate HTL00397322, an EP4 antagonist. The candidate will be evaluated in both combination therapy and monotherapy. Although no exact financial details were given, Sosei will still license the program after reading the study.

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with Cancer Research UK to advance HTL0039732 into Phase I/IIa clinical trials and take a step forward in bringing new treatments to cancer patients,” said the President of Heptares Therapeutics, Matt Barnes, in a statement.

The candidate targets a specific type of EP4 receptor, which is involved in cancer cells evading the immune system and affecting tumor cell growth. Blocking this type of receptor can improve patient survival if used in combination with other immunotherapies, Sosei says.

Sosei targets a range of cancers, including colorectal, gastroesophageal, head and neck cancer and castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Cancer has long been on the minds of Sosei researchers. In 2017, the company offered MiNA Therapeutics an exclusive option to acquire the company for $45 million in cash. MiNA was working at the time on RNA technology for a phase I/IIa test in liver cancer.

Sosei has also been seeking partnerships for other areas of its business, as in January the company began collaborating with Alphabet’s Verily. The companies aim to use Verily’s immune profiling and Sosei’s GPCR drug design capabilities to develop new drugs primarily in the areas of immunology, gastroenterology and immuno-oncology.

Aubrey L. Morgan