Cubist bags GPCR drug
08.01.2013 - US-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals and British Heptares sealed a €7.2m license deal. Cubist pays to snatch a drug candidate for an undisclosed GPCR target.
The small spin-off Heptares Therapeutics from Welwyn Garden City north of London has landed a license deal with US biopharma Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Heptares’ area of expertise are G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR). Cubist will pay €4.2m up front and €3.1m in research funding plus undisclosed milestone payments and royalties. Heptares, in return, uses its proprietary platform technology to screen for drug candidates targeting an unnamed GPCR specified by Cubist. The deal also includes an option for a second target. Financial details covering that part of the collaboration have been predetermined – but will not be made public. Both parties agreed that the preclinical development will be carried out solely by Cubist.
Heptares was spun off from the Medical Research Council in 2007. The company engineers stabilised GPCRs (so-called STaRs), circumventing the problematic handling of the otherwise labile receptors. The UK firm entered biopharma main stage only last spring when it became eligible to receive payments potentially equalling €145m. Back then Irish Shire plc licensed a Heptares-discovered preclinical antagonist of the GPCR A2A (see photo) which could turn to a new CNS disorders medicine. Also AstraZeneca and Novartis belong to Heptares’ customers.