Exscientia partners with GSK to further drug discovery through AI


UK-based drug design company Exscientia has announced it has entered into a strategic drug discovery partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Under this partnership, Exscientia will use its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled platform, combined with the expertise of GSK, to discover novel and selective small molecules for up to 10 disease-related targets, nominated by GSK across multiple therapeutic areas. It will receive research payments from GSK in lieu of this.

Exscientia will also receive near-term lead and pre-clinical candidate milestones on achieving all of the objectives. If all 10 projects are advanced, Exscientia will receive a total of £33 million from GSK on achieving these milestones. It will also receive incentives to reduce the number of compounds required for synthesis and assay in order to achieve lead and candidate compound goals.

Exscientia will use technologies like its ‘big data’ resources that comprise medicinal chemistry and large-scale bio-assays, and its AI-driven algorithms to design novel molecules that fulfil the requirements of the lead and candidate criteria.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, said: “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.

“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,” Hopkins added. “We look forward to a productive collaboration with GSK.”

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