Gowling WLG advises Sosei Heptares on its global agreement with GlaxoSmithKline

4 minute read
22 December 2020

Gowling WLG's Life Sciences team has advised Sosei Heptares on its global collaboration and license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to advance the treatment of immune disorders of the digestive system.

Under the agreement, GSK will license global rights to a portfolio of certain G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) agonists designed by Sosei Heptares using its StaR® technology and drug design platform. The two companies will collaborate on research and pre-clinical development of the portfolio, while GSK will lead on clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation.

In turn, Sosei Heptares will receive an upfront payment, potential development milestone payments and research funding of up to £34 million. It will also be eligible for success-based development, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments of up to £336 million, and tiered royalties on net sales of any resulting products.

The Gowling WLG team worked with Jim Taylor, SVP Business Development at Sosei Heptares. Gowling WLG's head of life sciences, Patrick Duxbury, and director Mathilda Davidson led on the licensing and collaboration agreement. The deal follows hot on the heels of working with Sosei Heptares on three other deals in the past six months: a global collaboration with pharmaceutical company Abbvie in July; an agreement with Tempero Bio – a new collaboration between Aditum Bio and Sosei Heptares – in November; and a further transaction with Biohaven, also in November.

Patrick Duxbury said: "We have built a strong relationship with Sosei Heptares over many years and developed a good understanding of the business and its commercial aims. As a result, we worked well as a single team in moving this latest deal forward swiftly and ensuring key objectives were met. The collaboration highlights that despite the challenges of the past few months, the deal market remains buoyant for life sciences, with investment in a range of potential drug therapies."

Sosei Heptares is an international biopharmaceutical group focused on the discovery and early development of new medicines originating from its proprietary GPCR-targeted StaR® technology and structure-based drug design platform capabilities. The group has established partnerships with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Genentech (Roche), Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda, and additionally with multiple emerging biotechnology companies.

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company, specialising in the discovery, development and manufacture of innovative medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. It employs more than 99,000 employees, across 95 countries worldwide, and in 2019 the company generated an operating profit of £6,961 million. In this latest deal, GSK was advised by an in-house team.

Gowling WLG's global Life Sciences team combines extensive sector expertise with full-service capability. Its strong reputation in the market has seen it described as a "sterling commercial life sciences practice for complex licence, research and collaboration agreements" and "excellent for corporate investment transactions involving spin-offs" (UK Chambers & Partners). Clients range from global pharmaceutical companies and leading research and academic bodies, to small private companies and start-up businesses.

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