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Evotec invests €15m in AI firm Exscientia

Funds will help the Scottish group accelerate growth

EvotecDrug discovery platform group Evotec has invested €15m in artificial intelligence firm Exscientia, and becomes the first strategic shareholder of the Scottish group.

Building on a partnership that begun in 2016 to discover novel immuno-oncology therapeutics, the new funds will see Exscientia expand its automated design platform and drive higher value partner programmes.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, chief executive officer, Evotec, said: “Our investment in Exscientia represents Evotec’s single biggest equity placement to date and in, what we feel is, the world leading AI technology company.”

The University of Dundee spin-out was the first company to automate drug design “surpassing conventional approaches” and “improving drug efficacy”.

Lanthaler continued: “Working with Exscientia on a joint immuno-oncology project over the past year, we have experienced first-hand how its AI approaches, along with our medicinal chemistry platform, can positively and radically impact drug discovery.”

Evotec is not the only pharmaceutical-based company who has partnered up with the AI firm however, as Sanofi signed a deal earlier this year to develop bispecfic small-molecule drugs to treat metabolic diseases.

GlaxoSmithKline also hopped on the AI bandwagon, collaborating with Exscientia back in July focusing on ten targets across multiple therapeutic areas.

Prof. Andrew Hopkins, chief executive officer, Exscientia, said: “Exscientia and Evotec have built a close relationship over the past year sharing mutual interest in agile innovation.

“We are delighted that Evotec has made this investment for a minority equity stake, allowing Exscientia to deliver more drug discovery projects in a rapid and capital efficient manner.”

As per the investment, Evotec’s chief operating officer, Dr Mario Polywka, will join Exscientia’s board of directors.

Article by
Gemma Jones

31st October 2017

From: Sales

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