Boehringer, Sosei Heptares partner on schizophrenia treatments

March 11, 2024

Boehringer Ingelheim and UK-based Sosei Heptares have entered a global collaboration and option-to-license agreement to develop and commercialize Sosei’s portfolio of GPR52 agonists for schizophrenia.

Under the terms of the deal, Boehringer has the exclusive option to license Sosei's GPR52 agonists, a novel G protein-coupled receptor target, following the completion of Sosei’s ongoing phase 1 and subsequent phase 1b trial and phase 2 enabling activities with HTL0048149, a first-in-class GPR52 agonist. Sosei Heptares will sponsor the trials until the option exercise, estimated in 2025.

According to Boehringer, the development of a new schizophrenia treatment targeting GPR52 has the potential to address all three aspects of schizophrenia — ‘positive’ symptoms (psychosis, delusions and hallucinations), ‘negative’ symptoms (social withdrawal and apathy) and cognitive symptoms (attention, planning and memory deficits).

In the deal, Sosei will receive an upfront payment of $27.3 million (€25 million) from Boehringer, and is eligible for an option exercise payment of $65.6 million (€60 million) and further development, regulatory and commercialization milestone payments totaling up to $732.7 million (€670 million).

Boehringer Ingelheim has inked several deals since the start of 2024. In January, the German drugmaker signed at $2 billion+ deal with Suzhou Ribo Life Science subsidiary Ribocure Pharmaceuticals to develop treatments for nonalcoholic or metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (NASH/MASH). This was quickly followed by a second research partnership with 3T Biosciences — this time for $538.5 million — to develop first-in-class immuno-oncology treatments.