US-based drug discovery firm Beacon Discovery has entered a multi-year collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals for small molecule compounds to treat metabolic diseases.

The partnership is set to discover and develop compounds for various undisclosed G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets.

It will also involve research for identifying drug candidates to treat diseases, such as obesity, with significant unmet medical need.

Under the agreement, Janssen exercises an option to acquire worldwide rights for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of products resulting from the alliance.

The firm will, in turn, pay an upfront amount to Beacon, along with milestones and royalties on future sales of products that would be related to exercise of the option.

“The partnership is set to discover and develop compounds for various undisclosed G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets.”

Beacon Discovery CEO Sunny Al-Shamma said: “We are delighted to be part of this strategic discovery collaboration, which realises our vision to combine our GPCR drug discovery expertise with the therapeutic area strengths and development capabilities of Janssen and our other corporate partners.”

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GPCRs are a family of cell surface receptors that are reported to respond to different external signals.

In addition to orthosteric receptor-ligand interactions, GPCR research involves persistent signalling and signalling through beta-arrestin, biased and allosteric ligands.

The structural biology of these receptors is said to have aided significant advances in biophysical methods and computational modelling, enabling a design of new molecules to target the receptors.

Beacon focuses on utilising internally enabled GPCR targets and small-molecule modulators for drug discovery.