Sosei Heptares expands R&D capabilities in UK life science hub

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Uk R&D

Sosei Heptares builds out its UK R&D presence by moving into a second location in Cambridge.

The Japanese company add to its existing presence in the Granta Park, Cambridge location, after moving into a space previously vacated by Cancer Research UK. According to Sosei Heptares, the extra space R&D space is necessary as it looks to expand its internal pipeline of assets.

The expansion will provide Sosei with space to house its translational medicine team, which works to prioritize and progress discovery candidates through Phase I/II trials. Sosei’s existing space at Granta Park will be remodeled to feature only laboratory space.

Chris Cargill, CEO of Sosei, stated on the expansion: “Being established as a leading biopharmaceutical company in the Cambridge area has benefitted us greatly, allowing us to draw from the rich pool of R&D talent in the area.”

Cargill was appointed CEO of the company in March 2022, as Sosei looks to its ‘next phase of growth’. The CEO outlined that the next stage of the company’s development would see it ‘seek out global expansion opportunities’, with Sosei targeting drug discovery technology investments, licensing of late-stage products for Japanese patients, and strategic acquisitions.

The company specializes in G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) focused structure-based drug design. GPCRs are involved in signaling pathways involved in a range of biological processes and are present in cells and tissues throughout the body. Sosei states that GPCRs are targeted by approximately 34% of currently marketed drugs.

Sosei’s proprietary platform, StaR/SBDD, allows for the creation of drug targets that other technologies could not discover, the company claims. The platform is able to generate small molecule, peptides and therapeutic antibody targets targeting GPCRs.

Sosei recently partnered with PharmEnable​ to improve on its discovery platform through the use of artificial intelligence, with a therapeutic area focus on neurological conditions.

The company has achieved success in interesting pharmaceutical companies to partner on drug candidates, with 13 drug candidates out licensed to companies, including Takeda​, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. The company also has nine projects in profit-sharing or co-developments collaborations.

Life sciences hub

According to Granta Park, Cambridge is the largest life science cluster in Europe, with its own site covering 1.3m-square-feet of building space. Alongside Sosei, the location also houses Pfizer, Gilead and AstraZeneca.

The latter company recently completed​ a £1bn ($1.3bn) R&D center in Cambridge, which is home to 2,200 research scientists and covers 204,514-square-feet of space. At the time of the completion, the company noted that the city is the most productive in Europe in the life sciences space. Cambridge has doubled its turnover growth rate over the past five years and also has more patent applications than anywhere else in the UK.

Sosei is representative of this growth, even if on a smaller scale to that of AZ – the company now employs 200 R&D team members in the location, up from 130 four years when it first located to Granta Park.

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