Exscientia, a UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery company, has secured $60 million in a Series C financing round led by new investor Novo Holdings, a Danish firm, which is fully owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Existing investors – Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, and GT Healthcare Capital also took part in the funding round of the AI drug discovery company.
Robert Ghenchev at Novo Holdings said: “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.”
Exscientia plans to use the new capital to grow its existing portfolio and pipeline, by launching new projects, taking forward advanced projects to the clinic, and expanding AI biology as part of its full-stack capabilities. Additionally, the AI drug discovery company intends to speed up its global expansion, including the build-out of its footprint in the US.
Earlier this year, the company said that the first-ever precision engineered drug designed using AI had forayed into phase 1 human clinical trials for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in partnership with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma (DSP). Exscientia said that the project needed less than 12 months to advance the program from target to identifying developmental candidate.
Exscientia is said to have continued to grow its portfolio into critical disease areas after the signing of multi-project partnerships with Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer, GT Apeiron, and Rallybio. In March 2020, the AI drug discovery company joined forces with Diamond Light Source and Scripps Research to identify COVID-19 antiviral treatments and last week it entered into a ground-breaking collaboration with SRI International to combine fully automated synthetic chemistry with artificial intelligence.
Professor Andrew Hopkins – CEO and founder of Exscientia said: “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.
“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.”