The British AI drug development company Exscientia has raised $60 million in a Series C financing round. It was led by Denmark’s Novo Holdings, which is a new investor, along with existing investors Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, and GT Healthcare Capital.
The funding round comes as there is a growing interest in AI-driven drug discovery, and it will help the company expand internationally, with a special focus on a presence in the United States.
Prof. Andrew Hopkins is CEO and founder of Exscientia.
“This investment highlights the increasing commitment to the potential of AI to transform drug discovery and the excitement that we have garnered around the innovative work we are doing at Exscientia,” said Hopkins. “We have now demonstrated multiple times that our platform can accelerate the time between the start of an idea and a viable new drug candidate for patients in need of treatments, fast tracking the entire R&D process.”
Robert Ghenchev is Senior Partner and Head of Novo Growth, which is the growth equity arm of Novo Holdings.
“Through its impressive track record to date, Exscientia has demonstrated the value of combining deep scientific expertise with cutting-edge technology capabilities to significantly accelerate drug discovery,” Ghenchev said. “Novo Holdings’ investment underscores our interest in supporting technology companies that enable life science research and innovation, and our commitment to this area. We see significant opportunity for the company to further grow its participation in the drug discovery ecosystem and are excited to work with the Exscientia team in realising this vision.”
Dr. Werner Lanthaler is the Chief Executive Officer of Evotec.
“Evotec was the first strategic and operational investor in Exscientia and we are extremely pleased it has made such impressive progress since that time and to be part of this significant fund raising. Evotec and Exscientia, together, look forward to realising further synergistic potential in innovative drug discovery,” Lanthaler said.
The company raised $26 million, 18 months back, from investors including Bristol Myers Squibb and Evotec.
What is Exscientia?
Exscientia is based in Oxford, and the company uses artificial intelligence for small molecule drug discovery. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma (DSP) to develop the first-ever, precision-engineered drug designed using AI. The drug serves as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and it entered Phase 1 human clinical trials. The entire project lasted less than 12 months, in a process that traditionally takes 4.5 years with conventional methods.
Since then, Exscientia has forged multi-project partnerships with Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer, Rallybio, and GT Apeiron.
The company has also been involved in developing treatments for COVID-19. Throughout the entire world, pharmaceutical companies and biotech industries have partnered up to focus on developing a vaccine and treatment for the virus.
Back in March, Exscientia announced that the company was collaborating with Diamond Light Source, a science facility based in Oxfordshire, as well as with drug-developer Calibr, in order to come up with antiviral treatments for COVID-19.