Tokyo-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. agreed to partner with Sosei Group Corp. to develop and market drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs.
The collaboration will combine Sosei's drug design capabilities and Takeda's drug discovery and development expertise.
GPCRs represent a group of proteins that mediate most human physiological responses to hormones and other stimulants.
It is estimated that 34% of currently marketed drugs act by binding to GPCRs.
The partnership will initially focus on developing new treatments for gastrointestinal diseases, but could expand to other therapeutic areas.
Sosei, also based in Tokyo, will receive up-front and near-term payments of up to $26 million, and additional payment that could exceed $1.2 billion when certain milestones are met.
Sosei is also entitled to royalties on net sales from the partnership, while Takeda will have the global rights to develop and commercialize drugs developed from the collaboration.
Sosei also entered an agreement with Roche Holding AG unit Genentech Inc. in July to discover and develop new drugs for multiple therapeutic areas using Sosei's proprietary GPCR structure-based drug design technology.
Sosei's product pipeline includes therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, solid tumors, metabolic diseases and Alzheimer's disease.