Sosei Heptares saw its shares shoot up around 12% in Tokyo this morning on news it has signed a new pact with AbbVie.
The biopharma is getting $32 million upfront for an exclusive early-stage discovery collab, including an option for a license agreement, to create and sell up to four therapies that modulate G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets “of interest to AbbVie.”
GCPR is one of the most sought-after and common R&D targets, with this deal set to initially focus on discovery of new small molecules targeting inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
The pact, details of which were pretty brief in the statement, will see Sosei apply its so-called StaR tech and GPCR-focused Structure-based Drug Design capabilities and fund R&D activities through to IND-enabling studies.
AbbVie may then pay to exercise its exclusive license options and assume responsibility for global development and commercialization, the pair said in a statement. Sosei could bag $377 million in biobucks, plus royalties on any sales, as part of the deal per target, so could hit $1billion-plus if everything works out perfectly under the deal.
Sosei has penned similar deals before, including a 2016 pact with then Allergan, now, ironically, AbbVie, worth up to $3.3 billion in biobucks and with a focus on Alzheimer’s, although one drug from that original partnership has already been pulled.
Malcolm Weir, Ph.D., executive vice chairman of Sosei, said: “We are delighted to begin this new partnership with AbbVie, which further extends the application of our technology to novel and exciting targets, and we look forward building a close working relationship as the programs advance. Collaborating with leading pharmaceutical companies is a core element of our successful value-generating strategy.
“The ability to combine our unique technology and structure-based discovery and early development capabilities, particularly around challenging drug targets, with AbbVie’s extensive therapeutic area, development and global commercialization expertise is a powerful approach to creating new improved therapeutics for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
This comes amid a small deal spree for AbbVie, which in the past few months has signed: a deal worth $60 million upfront, with $805 million in biobucks, for Alpine Immune's lupus asset; a new pact to focus on SHP2 inhibitors, which target a key node in cancer and immune cells, with early-stage biotech Jacobio Pharmaceuticals; and a major $750 million upfront deal with Genmab for a stake in a pipeline of anti-cancer bispecifics led by epcoritamab, which could be worth up to $3.2 billion in milestones.