Sosei Heptares and Metrion Biosciences to collaborate on structure-based drug discovery approaches to ion channels

pharmafile | February 1, 2021 | News story | Sales and Marketing Sosei Heptares 

Sosei Heptares has announced it will collaborate with Metrion Biosciences, a specialist ion channel CRO and drug discovery company, to apply its structure-based drug design (SBDD) expertise and platform to ion channels for the first time.

Ion channels regulate the flow of ions across the cell membrane as a means of conducting signals between cells and their environment. They are well established drug targets, particularly in neurological and cardiovascular diseases, but many remain undrugged or poorly drugged, and may be tractable to structure-based approaches.

The strategic collaboration aims to demonstrate the potential of Sosei Heptares’ SBDD technologies to address disease-associated ion channels and work towards establishing a leadership position in this area.

To begin with, the two companies will combine their respective capabilities in a drug discovery programme to identify novel, highly specific drug leads for further development against a single ion channel associated with neurological diseases.

Metrion will contribute intellectual property, know-how, and use of screening models for the nominated ion channel target. Sosei Heptares will apply its technologies for structure determination studies and SBDD, and will have exclusive, full global rights to all molecules identified and directed to the targets for development by the company.

Rob Cooke, Chief Technology Officer at Sosei Heptares, commented: “We are extremely pleased to enter this collaboration with Metrion in the hugely exciting area of ion channels. Their experience enables us to extend our world-leading expertise in structure-based drug discovery for GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) to other membrane proteins where structural input to drug discovery has been more limited.

“This strategic technology collaboration is the latest in a series we have made with highly innovative companies in recent months designed to strengthen our platform and enhance our discovery and partnering opportunities. In addition to Metrion, these collaborations with Captor Therapeutics in targeted protein degradation and with PharmEnable to access proprietary artificial intelligence-enabled and medicinal chemistry technologies are a key factor to drive our future growth ambitions.” 

Andrew Southan, Chief Executive Officer of Metrion Biosciences, added: “Resolving the 3D structure of ion channel proteins has great potential to accelerate the discovery of potent, selective new drugs targeting this highly important class of human proteins.

“This opportunity to combine Metrion Biosciences’ depth of target class knowledge and assay expertise with Sosei Heptares’ structure-based drug discovery capabilities has considerable potential to achieve scientific and commercial breakthroughs in this field. On behalf of the entire Metrion team I would like to thank Sosei Heptares for selecting Metrion Biosciences for this work, and we look forward to a successful alliance.”

Darcy Jimenez

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