Sosei Group Corporation and PharmEnable Therapeutics have expanded their collaboration agreement to include the discovery of a second neurological disease target.

The companies are planning to leverage their respective expertise in drug discovery. Sosei’s expertise in structure-based drug design (SBDD) for receptor protein structure determination and translational development is expected to complement PharmEnable’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled medicinal chemistry platform, chemUNIVERSE, to develop new drugs.

Leveraging AI in drug development has become more common in recent years, with multiple companies partnering with other companies with specialised AI drug discovery platforms. Several companies have touted their reliance on AI, with Insilico Medicine’s AI-discovered drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis starting its Phase II trial. GlobalData forecasts around $3.3bn will be spent on AI in drug discovery by 2025.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

In 2021, the companies partnered to develop a drug that targets the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), which is associated with neurological diseases.

The current agreement is similar to the previous one, with both companies sharing the discovery and development costs. The companies will also co-own the drugs developed during their partnership.

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Sosei is also developing up to four GCPR-targeting drugs in partnership with AbbVie, with the latter having the option-to-license agreement.

In July, Sosei snapped up the Asia-Pacific operations of Idorsia, including the marketed neurological drug Pivlaz (clazosentan).

Other neurological drugs in Sosei’s pipeline include the GPR52 agonist, HTL’149, which is currently in a Phase I clinical trial. It is being evaluated as a treatment for schizophrenia and other related neurological diseases. The company is also developing muscarinic agonists to treat major central nervous system disorders as part of an out-licensing collaboration with Neurocrine Biosciences. These are currently in various stages of clinical development.