26th May 2020, Oxford, Copenhagen, and Hamburg – Exscientia, the world leading artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery company, today announced it has raised $60 million in a Series C financing round. The financing round has been led by new investor Novo Holdings with existing investors – Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, and GT Healthcare Capital (through its LPs) – participating in the round. Robert Ghenchev, Senior Partner and Head of Novo Growth, the growth equity arm of Novo Holdings, joins Exscientia’s board of directors as part of the financing round.
The new capital will be used to boldly expand Exscientia’s existing portfolio and pipeline, by launching new projects, progressing advanced projects to the clinic, and expanding AI biology as part of Exscientia’s full-stack capabilities. In addition, the company plans to accelerate its international expansion, including the build-out of its presence in the USA.
Exscientia has demonstrated high growth and significant milestones in applying AI to small molecule drug discovery. Earlier this year, it announced that the first ever precision engineered drug designed using AI had entered Phase I human clinical trials for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in partnership with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma (DSP). This project required less than 12 months to advance the programme from target to identifying developmental candidate, just a fraction of the typical average of 4.5 years using conventional research techniques. The company has been able to consistently deliver similar reductions in developmental timelines across its portfolio of projects.
Exscientia has continued to expand its portfolio into critical disease areas following the signing of multi-project partnerships with Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer, Rallybio and GT Apeiron. In March this year, Exscientia announced a joint initiative to identify COVID-19 antiviral treatments with Diamond Light Source and Scripps Research and last week it announced a ground-breaking collaboration with SRI International to combine fully automated synthetic chemistry with AI.
Robert Ghenchev at Novo Holdings commented “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. 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.”
“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 Prof. Andrew Hopkins, CEO and founder of Exscientia. “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. We are delighted that Novo Holdings, one of the world’s preeminent life science investors, recognises the potential of the platform to transform the pharmaceutical industry.”
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: “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.”
Exscientia is a global Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company. By fusing the power of the original AI with the experience of seasoned drug hunters, Exscientia’s innovative Centaur Chemist™ platform enables breakthrough productivity gains as well as new approaches to improve drug efficacy. Novel compounds are automatically designed and prioritised for synthesis by its AI systems, which rapidly evolve compounds towards the desired candidate criteria for clinical development. For more information visit us on www.exscientia.ai or follow us on Twitter @exscientiaAI
About Novo Holdings
Novo Holdings, a Danish private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, is recognised as a leading international life science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life science investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. For more information, visit www.novoholdings.dk.
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide and our more than 3,000 employees provide the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, fibrosis, rare diseases and women’s health. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Myers Squibb, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @Evotec.