New York and Tokyo advise Pfizer in strategic drug discovery collaboration with Heptares

Global Business December 1, 2015

An international life sciences transactions team recently advised Pfizer Inc. in its strategic drug discovery collaboration with Heptares Therapeutics to research and develop potential new medicines directed at up to 10 G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets across multiple therapeutic areas.

Heptares will use its proprietary GPCR structure-guided platform to help deliver stabilized GPCRs (StaR®s), high-resolution crystal structures and other technologies to support the discovery of potential novel agents directed to the GPCR targets selected by Pfizer. Pfizer will develop and commercialize any potential therapeutic agents for each target, holding exclusive global rights to any potential resulting agents.

Heptares will receive an initial payment on signing the agreement in return for delivering certain StaR proteins and structures for targets selected by Pfizer that it has already generated. Heptares is eligible to receive potential research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to US$189 million per target. Heptares is also eligible to receive potential tiered royalties on the net sales of any products that are commercialized by Pfizer.

In addition, Pfizer Seiyaku KK has entered into an equity agreement with Sosei Group Corporation ("Sosei") under which it will purchase US$33 million of newly-issued Sosei common stock at a premium of 25 percent to the average closing price during the 20-day period prior to the closing date, which is expected to be in December 2015. The investment, subject to review by Japanese financial authorities, will represent approximately 3.02 percent of the enlarged Sosei share capital. Heptares is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei.

New York partner Andres Liivak led the team representing Pfizer with assistance from Washington, DC associate Blake Walsh. Tokyo corporate partner Eiji Kobayashi advised the team on equity investment matters.