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GSK signs $43 million AI-based drug discovery deal with Exscientia

Published on 03/07/17 at 11:26am

With AI partnerships becoming increasingly common in the life sciences industry, it has emerged that GSK is to partner up with Scottish firm Exscientia in a $43 million deal in a bid to utilise the latter’s AI-driven platform to supercharge and streamline its drug discovery business.  

The partnership will focus on combining Exscientia’s platform with GSK’s operational capability in order to discover novel and selective small molecules for up to 10 disease-related targets and deliver pre-clinical candidates in multiple therapeutic areas, as determined by GSK.  As part of the agreement, Exscientia is eligible for up to £44 million in milestone payments, should all 10 targets are advanced.

Exscientia Chief Executive Andrew Hopkins claims that his company’s proprietary platform can cut drug delivery time and costs by 75%.

"Many large pharma companies are starting to realize the potential of this approach and how it can help improve efficiencies," he explained. "This agreement with GSK is the second we have signed in recent months with a top global pharma company. The alliance provides further validation of our AI-driven platform and its potential to accelerate the discovery of novel, high-quality drug candidates. Applying our approach to client discovery projects has already delivered candidate-quality molecules in roughly one-quarter of the time, and at one-quarter of the cost of traditional approaches.

“Our intention therefore is to apply these capabilities to projects selected by GSK,” he continued. “Delivering efficiencies to drug discovery has the potential to revolutionise the way early projects are executed, enabling more dynamic target selections from the burgeoning set of opportunities. We look forward to a productive collaboration with GSK.”

Exscientia recently penned a similar deal with Sanofi in May.

Matt Fellows

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