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Heptares Therapeutics, University of Cambridge launch research collaboration

PBR Staff Writer Published 01 February 2017

Heptares Therapeutics has partnered with the University of Cambridge to discover molecules that modulate a cardiovascular target.

The project builds on work at the university to understand the role apelin receptors play in cardiovascular diseases.

The collaboration gives Heptares access to a group run by Anthony Davenport, a researcher at Cambridge with an interest in G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

The value of the 3-year research collaboration was not disclosed. It will be carried out as part of Heptares’ ORBIT (Opportunities in Receptor Biology for Industrial Translation) program.

Heptares chief scientific officer Fiona Marshall said: "The collaboration with Dr Davenport's group is a great example of how the ORBIT programme supports our strategy to expand the reach of our technology to new targets, in particular through an investment in translational medicine and understanding the role of GPCRs through studies on human tissues.

“The apelin receptor is emerging as an exciting new target in the regulation of cardiovascular function and offers a unique approach to treat a number of serious cardiovascular diseases."

The collaboration will provide support to a three-year-programme at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapeutics with the academic group of Dr Anthony Davenport.

Davenport said: "We have made great strides in recent years to increase our understanding of the role of the apelin receptor system and its involvement in cardiovascular diseases. It is an exciting target and we are delighted to be advancing this research with Heptares to better understand the role of apelin and related peptides with a view to informing the optimal way of targeting the apelin system for treating cardiovascular diseases." 

A collaborative research initiative, ORBIT was launched by Heptares in February last year. It has been designed to promote and widen the application of Heptares’ proprietary structure-based drug design expertise targeted at GPCRs to develop transformative medicines.

ORBIT is expected to get a funding of £5m in the next three years by Heptares.