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Sanofi and Exscientia agree on a deal worth up to $5.2bn for AI-driven therapies

The strategic research collaboration between the two companies aims to develop AI-driven pipeline of precision-engineered therapies

Sanofi

In an announcement today, Sanofi and Exscientia revealed plans to form a research collaboration and licence agreement, with the aims of developing up to 15 new small molecule candidates across the fields of oncology and immunology.

According to the terms detailed in the agreement, Sanofi will pay Exscientia an upfront cash payment of $100m. Exscentia is eligible to receive future research, translational, clinical development, regulatory and commercial milestones in aggregate of up to approximately $5.2bn, on the condition that all milestones for each programme reaches completion.

The companies’ intentions through this collaboration are to accelerate drug discovery and improve clinical access by utilising Exscientia’s existing personalised medicine platform. The platform itself adopts a ‘patient-first’ approach by assimilating primary human tissue samples into early target and drug research.

By using this approach, Exscientia scientists are able to promote patient-centricity earlier in the drug creation process through integrating patient, disease and clinical data into decisions drawn on potential new medicine candidates.

Additionally, Exscientia will take the lead on both small molecule drug design and optimisation processes up to the stage of development candidate nomination. Alongside this, Sanofi will take responsibility for preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing and further commercialisation.

Frank Nestle, global head of research and chief scientific officer at Sanofi said: “We look forward to deepening our work with Exscientia, a leader in leveraging AI to modernize all aspects of drug discovery and development.

“Sanofi’s collaboration with Exscientia aims to transform how we discover and develop new small molecule medicines for cancer and immune-mediated diseases. Application of sophisticated AI and machine learning methods will not only shorten drug discovery timelines, but will also help to design higher quality and better targeted medicines for patients.”

Speaking on behalf of Exscientia, the company’s CEO and founder, Andrew Hopkins said: “It is immensely exciting to collaborate with Sanofi with our goal of realizing the full potential of AI to deliver the next generation of cancer and immunology medicines.”

Hopkins added: “[Exscientia’s] expanded collaboration with Sanofi will utilise the breadth of our platform to test AI-designed drug candidates against patient tissue models, potentially providing far better accuracy than conventional approaches such as mouse models. When you consider the change this represents – testing candidates against actual human tissue years before a clinical trial – it’s transformative.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

7th January 2022

From: Healthcare

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