The collaboration will deploy AI to advance the discovery of small molecule therapeutic drug candidates in multiple therapeutic areas


Exscientia, Bristol Myers expand collaboration. (Credit: Pexels from Pixabay.)

UK-based AI-driven pharma company Exscientia has expanded its collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb to enhance its portfolio of shared assets.

The collaboration deploys AI to advance the discovery of small molecule therapeutic drug candidates in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology & immunology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exscientia will receive upfront funding of up to $50m, along with up to $125m in near to mid-term potential milestone payments.

Also, additional clinical, regulatory and commercial payments bring the potential value of the transaction to more than $1.2bn.

Exscientia is also entitled to receive tiered royalties on net sales of any marketed drug products developed under the collaboration.

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.

“We’re excited to work with such an experienced collaborator as Bristol Myers Squibb to develop the best possible medicines for patients.”

The current collaboration expands Exscientia’s existing partnership initiated in 2019 with Celgene, prior to its acquisition by Bristol Myers Squibb.

Under the collaboration, Exscientia will take up required AI-design and experimental work to discover drug candidates for Bristol Myers Squibb.

The company will design the molecules using its AI-driven drug discovery platform, which delivers optimised compounds that address complex design goals, unlike traditional drug discovery.

Exscientia claimed that it is the first company to advance AI-designed small molecule drug candidates into clinical studies, using its drug discovery platform.

Bristol Myers Squibb research & early development president Rupert Vessey said: “We have been pleased with Exscientia’s work in tackling a number of distinct projects for Bristol Myers Squibb.

“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.”

Last month, Exscientia has received $525m in a Series D financing round led by Softbank, to further fund expansion of its technology capabilities and proprietary drug pipeline.