Celgene to use Exscientia's AI platform in effort to accelerate drug development

Celgene entered a three-year partnership to utilise Exscientia's artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery capabilities to accelerate the development of small-molecule therapies for three programmes in the areas of oncology and autoimmunity, the latter company announced Thursday. The deal includes an initial $25 million upfront payment from Celgene, with Exscientia also eligible to receive "substantial milestones" based on the clinical, regulatory and commercial success of the programme.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, noted that "today, patients can wait more than 10 years from initial drug discovery to its availability as a treatment," adding "we have been developing our AI platform on the principle that AI combined with human creativity can significantly accelerate the drug discovery process and thus drastically improve access of new drugs to the market."

Under the partnership, Exscientia will use its Centaur Chemist AI drug discovery platform, which it said can reduce the time to discovering preclinical drug candidates by three-fourths. Celgene corporate vice president of chemistry Lawrence Hamann stated "we believe that reducing the number of iteration cycles in optimising structure-activity and developability relationships through their platform will very favourably impact our ability to deliver high quality development candidates targeting unmet needs in oncology and autoimmunity."

Exscientia has previously entered into partnerships with a number of other drugmakers, including an agreement with Roche focused on the development of preclinical candidates, as well as deals with Evotec, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi.

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