Heptares Therapeutics, a U.K.-based drug discovery company, has granted Shire Pharmaceuticals, the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, exclusive worldwide license of novel adenosine A2A antagonist for central nervous system disorders, currently in preclinical development.
In return for exclusive license to worldwide development and commercial rights to A2Aantagonists, Shire will pay Heptares an upfront option grant and exercise payments. Heptares is also eligible to receive future development and commercial milestone payments up to $190 million, plus royalties on product sales. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are impressed with the novelty and quality of the A2A antagonist leads generated by Heptares, resulting from what we believe to be the first time a structure-based drug discovery approach has been applied from the beginning to a GPCR drug target,” said Jeff Jonas, senior vice president, R&D, specialty pharmaceuticals and regenerative medicine, Shire.
Adenosine A2A is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) involved in the regulation of dopaminergic pathways in the brain. Inhibition of the A2A receptor is a validated mechanism in the treatment of central nervous system disorders. Hepatare’s A2A program reflects a new approach to the GPCR target, stabilizing the A2A receptor and enabling the application for the first time of structure-based drug discovery techniques including Biophysical Mapping, fragment screening and x-ray crystallography to the receptor.
The advanced knowledge of the target generated by this approach enabled Heptares scientists to discover entirely new types of chemical structures for inhibiting the A2A receptor, potentially possessing best-in-class drug-like characteristics, a radical advance after decades of largely unsuccessful medicinal chemistry.