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Pfizer Begins Phase 2 Of Diabetes Drug, Triggering $10 Million Milestone To Sosei Heptares

by Joy Lin
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Tokyo-based Sosei Heptares of Sosei Group Corporation has been notified by partner Pfizer of the first patient dosing in a Phase 2 clinical trial on a drug candidate for diabetes and obesity.

The milestone triggers a $10 million payment to Heptares; under a multi-target, GPCR-based drug discovery agreement from 2015, the company could receive up to $189 million in R&D, regulatory, and commercial milestones from Pfizer. 

The candidate, PF-07081532, is a once-daily oral small molecule GLP-1 receptor agonist discovered by Pfizer scientists who used Heptares’ StaR (stabilized receptor) technology. 

GLP-1 agonists like Wegovy (semaglutide) and the recently-approved Mounjaro (tirzepatide) work by enhancing insulin release, curbing hunger, and slowing the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, which contributes towards weight loss and managing high blood sugar levels. 

PF-07081532 has cleared Phase 1 clinical studies under Pfizer; the drugmaker is responsible for all clinical development and commercialization of candidates resulting from the collaboration. 

Related Article: Provention’s Tzield Snags FDA’s Approval to Slow Type 1 Diabetes Progression

Targeting GCPRs Across Multiple Therapeutics Areas 

Sosei Heptares’ StaR platform utilizes structure-based drug design (SBDD) to engineer drugs against highly validated but notoriously undruggable G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Pfizer’s use of technology has yielded multiple stabilized receptors (StaR proteins), X-ray structures, and biophysical data that were used to develop small molecule candidates. The drugmaker has nominated three of them (including PF-07081532), which have since progressed into the clinic. The other two candidates are PF-07054894, a CCR6 antagonist targeting Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and PF-07258669, an MC4 receptor antagonist for anorexia. 

Besides Pfizer, Sosei Heptares has ongoing partnerships with other big names in pharma, including Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Roche’s Genentech, and GSK. The collaborations cover many therapeutic domains, including neurology, immunology, gastroenterology, and inflammatory diseases. 

Earlier this month, Sosei Heptares received a $10 million payment from Abbvie after it reached an important R&D milestone related to neurology and inflammation. A few days later, the company entered a $731 million collaboration with Eli Lilly to discover drugs that target GPCR targets associated with diabetes and metabolic diseases, similar to its deal with Pfizer. 

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