Exscientia and Bristol-Myers Squibb agree to leverage AI to discover drug candidates for various diseases.
Exscientia has expanded its partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to discover small molecule drug candidates across oncology and immunology, among other therapeutic areas.
In 2019, Exscientia forged this alliance with Celgene, which was later acquired by BMS.
Under the expanded deal, Exscientia will carry out AI-design and research activities for identifying drug candidates. The company will use its AI-based drug discovery platform to design molecules.
Exscientia’s platform can provide optimised compounds by achieving complex design quicker and more effectively compared to standard drug discovery, the company noted.
Exscientia CEO Andrew Hopkins said: “We are proud that Bristol Myers Squibb wants to build on our work together with this expanded collaboration and believe it speaks to the strength and promise of Exscientia’s AI technologies and drug discovery expertise.”
BMS will make an upfront payment of up to $50m to Exscientia, which may also receive about $125m in near to mid-term milestones along with clinical, regulatory and commercial payments worth approximately $1bn.
The collaboration agreement also covers tiered royalties on net sales of any resulting drugs.
Bristol Myers Squibb Research & Early Development president Rupert Vessey said: “Exscientia’s application of AI technologies is proving capable of generating best-in-class molecules while also reducing discovery times.
“Rapid discovery of molecules that can enter the clinic in a timely manner could positively impact our work in discovering treatments for areas of unmet medical need.”
This deal comes a day after BMS agreed to a worldwide exclusive licence to Agenus’ cancer antibody programme.
Apart from BMS, Exscientia previously partnered with multiple companies including Bayer, Sanofi and Dainippon Sumitomo. Recently, the AI pharmatech firm raised $525m in a Series D funding round led by Softbank.