Patent portfolio critical to commercial success for leading biopharma group


Sosei Heptares is a leading biopharmaceutical group, formed following the acquisition of UK company Heptares Therapeutics by the Japanese group Sosei. The company creates and develops transformative new medicines targeting serious diseases with major unmet needs (eg Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, metabolic disease, schizophrenia, migraine, and others).

When Heptares Therapeutics was founded in 2007, it needed specialist advice to devise an IP strategy to protect its ground-breaking GPCR drug discovery platform technologies. It turned to Potter Clarkson.

Our biotech team brought to bear their deep scientific understanding and legal experience in patent drafting and global filing and prosecution strategy to secure commercially focused patent protection. This protection was critical for Heptares’ commercial success, allowing it to raise finance and forge lucrative partnerships with a number of leading global pharmaceutical companies.


Critical to the business success was the ability to obtain and maintain enforceable intellectual property rights adequate to protect Heptares’ innovations for candidate drugs and its drug discovery and platform technologies to provide exclusivity and licensable rights.

We have provided expert service for this client throughout its growth and development, demonstrating deep biotech sector knowledge and extensive international expertise, together with the most comprehensive and commercially focused approach to patent drafting and global filing and prosecution strategy. 

The patent portfolio we secured underpinned Heptares’ commercial strategy, and the company was able to leverage its proprietary technologies in successful financing rounds in the early years. It was also able to sign partnership agreements with a number of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biologics companies, including Allergan, AstraZeneca, Cubist (Merck), Kymab, Takeda Pharmaceutical, MorphoSys, MedImmune, Novartis and Pfizer. These partnerships have provided more than USD 30 million in upfront and milestone payments and are expected to continue generating revenues through milestone payments and royalties over the coming years.

The exclusivity provided by the robust patent portfolio was also a significant factor in the subsequent acquisition of Heptares by Sosei Group for USD 400 million in 2015.

At the time of Heptares acquisition, Dr Malcolm Weir, CEO of Heptares, commented: “It is a great example of the translation of ground-breaking UK academic science into economic and potential therapeutic value.”

Potter Clarkson continues to act for the resulting company, Sosei Heptares.