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Imperial College London is partnering with teams from Heptares to develop new treatments for gastrointestinal conditions.

Gastrointestinal (GI) disease is the third most common cause of death in the UK. The GI tract represents the largest endocrine organ in the body, producing multiple hormones that act on a wide range of GPRCs in the GI tract and throughout the body. In addition, many of these have been found to play a role in a number of GI diseases.

Imperial's strategic collaboration with Heptares will aim to rapidly advance drug discovery and translational research in this key area. The work will see researchers focus on the GI tract, building on existing knowledge of key targets in the gut called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) to develop new treatments for GI disease.

Multi-year partnership

The new partnership aims to build on the significant progress made in understanding how GPCRs in the GI tract can be modulated. It will also support the development of new treatments for GI disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics and head of the Nutrition and Food Network at Imperial College London, added: “This research will build on the growing body of knowledge around these key membrane receptors in the gut, investigating their potential in therapeutic interventions.

Drug discovery and development

Through the multi-year partnership, Heptares, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation, will fund and support various programmes of work in terms of target discovery and validation and will be responsible for the progression and commercialisation of any compounds resulting from the collaboration.

The collaboration will also support ongoing discovery and development programmes at Sosei/Heptares.

This collaboration will enable us to uncover new druggable targets and develop new treatments which could have far-reaching impact for patients with GI conditions.

Professor Gary Frost

Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics

Collaboration with world-class academic research groups is integral to our long-term drug discovery strategy.

Malcolm Weir

Chief R&D Officer of Sosei and Heptares

Breakthroughs in this field could ultimately help to improve quality of life for patients living with inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Jonathan Weber

Acting Dean of Medicine