Sosei Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Heptares Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical have signed an agreement to discover, develop and commercialise new molecules, including small molecules and biologics.

The molecules developed as part of the strategic multi-target partnership modulate G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets.

Under the agreement terms, the GPCR-focused structure-based drug design capabilities at Sosei Heptares will combine with Takeda’s discovery, development and therapeutic area expertise.

Initially, the companies will focus on high-priority gastrointestinal targets. However, the agreement includes potential expansion into other therapeutic areas.

Sosei Heptares executive vice-president and chief R&D officer Dr Malcolm Weir said: “Today’s newly announced partnership is the culmination of recent discussions to identify new and exciting programmes where our combined expertise can direct towards challenging diseases and targets to deliver new medicines for patients.”

As part of the partnership, Sosei Heptares is eligible for up to $26m in upfront and near-term payments, in addition to research funding over the agreement term.

The company is also eligible for future development, commercialisation and net sales-based milestone payments that may be more than $1.2bn.

Additionally, Sosei Heptares will receive tiered royalties on net sales of any licensed products by Takeda resulting from the partnership.

Through specified pharmacological approaches, Takeda receives exclusive global rights to develop and commercialise therapeutic agents for each novel target under the partnership.

Takeda Pharmaceutical gastroenterology drug discovery unit head Dr Gareth Hicks said: “The therapeutic approach presented through this collaboration provides an exciting avenue for discovery in gut inflammation and motility disorders.

“We are eager to advance the identified targets through our research pipeline, in partnership with Sosei Heptares, to accelerate the development of new therapies for patients.”