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Captor Therapeutics and Sosei Heptares Enter Strategic Collaboration


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Wroclaw, Poland and Allschwil, Switzerland, 22.12.2020 – Captor Therapeutics SA (“Captor”; Wroclaw, Poland and Allschwil, Switzerland, a European leader in targeted protein degradation, and Sosei Group Corporation (“Sosei Heptares”; TSE: 4565), have entered a strategic collaboration focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecules that target the degradation of disease-associated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).


Targeted protein degradation (TPD) is an approach whereby the body’s natural process for degrading proteins is diverted using small molecule drugs to eliminate disease-causing proteins. The selective destruction of such proteins is expected to have multiple advantages over classical drugs such as inhibitors and antibodies for the development of novel therapeutics against a broad range of diseases.


Captor and Sosei Heptares initially will focus on identifying small molecules targeting a GPCR with a key role in a strongly validated signaling pathway implicated in gastrointestinal disorders. A further aim of the collaboration is to generate high resolution structural information around the GPCR-E3 ligase complex to enhance drug discovery efforts as well as provide proof of concept for targeted degradation discovery approaches with other GPCRs and other target classes.  


The collaboration combines Sosei Heptares’ structure-based drug design (SBDD) platform, including its structural insights around the target, and its deep understanding of GPCR pharmacology, together with Captor’s proprietary TPD OptigradeTM, platform and extensive know-how and expertise in protein degradation.


Since 2017, Captor has raised approximately €40 million from private investors and non-dilutive funding sources, allowing it to create an advanced TPD platform and establish five pipeline programs in cancer and autoimmune diseases.


Captor’s OptigradeTM platform is focused on improving the selectivity and performance of first-generation degrader drugs. The principle of TPD is to use small molecules to commit the target protein into the E3 ligase-mediated degradation pathway thereby eliminating or reducing its activity. Molecular glues and bifunctional degraders are two different approaches to promote the direct binding of a specific E3 ligase to the target protein, and in each case, Captor has developed molecules with improved selectivity. These approaches can also be coupled with Captor’s novel E3 Ligase ligands (LilisTM) which take advantage of Captor’s extensive library of E3 Ligase enzymes to create a new generation of degrader drugs.


Promising leads will be progressed using the partners’ complementary discovery skills, resources and development capabilities for subsequent development and commercialization.

Under the agreement, the companies will jointly conduct the discovery and development program and will co-own any resulting products, with Sosei Heptares supporting initial R&D costs. No further financial details are disclosed.


Miles Congreve, Chief Scientific Officer of Sosei Heptares, commented: “Targeted protein degradation is a promising approach to drug discovery that is gaining strong interest in the pharmaceutical industry. However, there has so far been limited progress in applying this exciting approach to membrane-associated proteins such as GPCRs. We can see a real opportunity to expand the reach of our SBDD and GPCR pharmacology expertise into this area; GPCRs themselves play key roles in disease yet are often difficult to drug. We are delighted to enter this collaboration with Captor, which has developed multiple novel approaches to identify small molecules that promote TPD. We are excited to explore the potential of this unique combination of technologies to develop a novel GPCR degraders platform, opening up so far intractable drug targets for us to address.”


Michal J. Walczak, Chief Scientific Officer of Captor Therapeutics, added: “This is an important partnership for both Captor and Sosei Heptares. We believe that the successful application of targeted protein degradation to G Protein-Coupled Receptors will open new doors in medicine and will maximize treatment opportunities for patients. Working with Sosei Heptares, a global leader in targeting GPCRs, is an exciting opportunity to create truly novel medicines and unlock TPD for GPCR targets, which will constitute another cornerstone validating the potential of this emerging drug discovery technology.”




About Sosei Heptares

We are an international biopharmaceutical group focused on the discovery and early development of new medicines originating from our proprietary GPCR-targeted StaR® technology and structure-based drug design platform capabilities. We are advancing a broad and deep pipeline of novel medicines across multiple therapeutic areas, including neurology, immunology, gastroenterology and inflammatory diseases.


We have established partnerships with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Biohaven, Genentech (Roche), Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda and additionally with multiple emerging technology companies. Sosei Heptares is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with corporate and R&D facilities in Cambridge, UK.


“Sosei Heptares” is the corporate brand and trademark of Sosei Group Corporation, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (ticker: 4565). Sosei, Heptares, the logo and StaR® are trademarks of Sosei Group companies.

For more information, please visit https://www.soseiheptares.com/

LinkedIn: @soseiheptaresco | Twitter: @soseiheptaresco | YouTube: @soseiheptaresco


About Captor Therapeutics

Captor Therapeutics is a rapidly growing Swiss-Polish biotech company with offices in Allschwil, Switzerland and state-of-the-art laboratories in Wroclaw, Poland, focused on the discovery and development of breakthrough drugs using targeted protein degradation (TPD). TPD is a revolutionary approach to drug discovery that can address totally new drug targets, beyond the reach of classical drugs, as well as improving the treatment of diseases where existing drugs are sub-optimal. Captor has developed its own proprietary OptigradeTM TPD platform and has established a drug pipeline with five programmes for inadequately treated, severe conditions including cancer and autoimmune diseases. The highly experienced international team includes former Pharma and Biotech senior managers together with expert scientists at the leading edge of this emerging technology. 


For more information, please visit: http://www.captortherapeutics.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/captortherapeutics/ |Twitter: @CaptorTherapeu1


Note to Editors: Scientific advantages of Targeted Protein Degradation over classical Target Inhibition

  • No requirement for the presence of an active site, with potential to address un-drugged or difficult-to-drug targets and existing drugged targets
  • No requirement for high affinity to compete with a natural ligand
  • While the target protein is destroyed, the degrader drug can be recycled enabling a prolonged pharmacological effect and potential for lower dosing
  • Fewer constraints compared to biologicals (antibodies) to exploit intracellular targets and potential for oral administration and other desirable drug-like characteristics, such as ability to cross the blood brain barrier



Captor Therapeutics - Media and Investor Relations

International media (exc. Poland)

Tom Shepherd, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, Captor Therapeutics

 +33 (0)6 23 33 59 60 | t.shepherdn3pl0@captortherapeutics.com


Michał Wierzchowski, cc group

+48 (0)531 613 067 | michal.wierzchowsa21ki@ccgroup.pl


Sosei Heptares – Media and Investor Relations

Hironoshin Nomura, SVP Investor Relations and Corporate Strategy

+81 (0)3 6679 2178 | Hironoshin72nw.Nomura@SoseiHeptares.com

Shinichiro Nishishita, VP Investor Relations, Head of Regulatory Disclosures

+81 (0)3 5210 3399 | IRy685qik@SoseiHeptares.com


Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Yas Fukuda – Japanese Media

+81 (0)3 4360 9234 | Yas.Fub9d8r23kuda@citigatedewerogerson.com


Mark Swallow, David Dible – International Media

+44 (0)20 7638 9571 | Soset9ugf7iHeptares@citigatedewerogerson.com


Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements about the discovery, development and commercialization of products. Various risks may cause Captor’s and Sosei Group Corporation’s actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including: adverse results in clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent protection for inventions; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and commercialize products and services; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting from development efforts; the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities; and product initiatives by competitors. As a result of these factors, prospective investors are cautioned not to rely on any forward-looking statements. Captor and Sosei Group Corporation  disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.