Sosei Heptares and Eli Lilly and Company have signed a partnership for the discovery, development and commercialisation of small molecules that modulate new G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets linked to diabetes and metabolic diseases. 

This alliance will utilise Sosei’s StaR technology and structure-based drug design (SBDD) platform along with wide-ranging drug development and marketing capabilities and therapeutic area abilities of Lilly in these disease areas. 

According to the deal, Sosei will work on a variety of GPCR targets suggested by Lilly to offer new target-selective small molecule hit candidates for advanced development and marketing.

On signing the agreement, Lilly will make $37m in upfront payment to Sosei Heptares, which is also entitled to get up to $694m on meeting development and commercial milestones.

Additionally, Sosei Heptares will receive tiered royalty payments on product sales worldwide.

Sosei Heptares UK Research & Development head Matt Barnes said: “This new agreement with Lilly further reinforces our position as a global partner of choice for GPCR-focused drug discovery targeting major diseases where patients remain in need of new and effective therapies. 

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“Lilly is a recognised world leader in diabetes and metabolic diseases, and we look forward to a collaboration that brings together our respective and complementary expertise with the goal of identifying and developing novel candidates to advance in these important areas of unmet need.”

In October, Lilly entered a definitive agreement to acquire Akouos in a deal valued at up to nearly $610m in cash.

Akouos focuses on developing adeno-associated viral gene therapies for treating inner ear conditions, including sensorineural hearing loss.