Drug targets for GPCRs

In 2007 Richard Henderson and Chris Tate at the LMB co-founded Heptares Therapeutics to exploit pioneering new technology to stabilise G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

About GPCRs

HeptaresGPCRs are an important family of proteins found in cell membranes. They are responsible for triggering responses inside cells to a number of external factors such as hormones, neurotransmitters and sensory stimuli.

Commonly prescribed drugs, such as beta-blockers and anti-migraine drugs, specifically interact with these receptors. Understanding their structure at a molecular level helps us to design new and more effective drugs to combat many human illnesses.

GPCRs represent the single most important family of drug targets in the human body and Heptares is working on its own and with partners to discover new medicines to target key diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, cancers and HIV.

The company raised more than £40 million from leading life science venture investors and signed drug discovery collaborations with AstraZeneca, Shire, Takeda and Novartis. In 2015 the company became a member of the Sosei group, an international biopharmaceutical company originating in Japan, in a deal worth up to $400M.