Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has announced a new collaboration agreement with Exscientia to use artificial intelligence (AI) to discovery drug candidates across a number of therapeutic areas. The collaboration will leverage Exscientia’s AI technology to accelerate the discovery of small molecule therapeutic drug candidates in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology and immunology. As part of the agreement, BMS will pay Exscientia $50m upfront, with up to $125m earmarked in near- to mid-term potential milestones.
Additional clinical, regulatory and commercial payments take the potential value of the deal to over $1.2bn, with Exscientia also set to receive tiered royalties on net sales on any products resulting from the collaboration. The new deal builds on BMS’ existing collaboration with Exscientia, initiated in 2019 with Celgene prior to the company’s acquisition by BMS. Exscientia will take responsibility for the AI-design and experimental work needed to discover the drug candidates, with the molecules to be designed using the company’s AI-driven drug discovery platform.
“We have been pleased with Exscientia’s work in tackling a number of distinct projects for Bristol Myers Squibb,” said Rupert Vessey, president of research & early development at BMS. “Exscientia’s application of AI technologies is proving capable of generating best-in-class molecules while also reducing discovery times. Rapid discovery of molecules that can enter the clinic in a timely manner could positively impact our work in discovering treatments for areas of unmet medical need,” he added. Aside from its collaboration with BMS, Exscientia has a number of additional collaborations in place with other pharma companies, including Bayer, Sanofi and Dainippon Sumitomo.
The company also has over a dozen partnered or wholly-owned drugs in development. “We are proud that Bristol Myers Squibb wants to build on our work together with this expanded collaboration and believe it speaks to the strength and promise of Exscientia’s AI technologies and drug discovery expertise,” said Andrew Hopkins, chief executive officer of Exscientia. “We’re excited to work with such an experienced collaborator as Bristol Myers Squibb to develop the best possible medicines for patients,” he added.