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  • Andrew Hopkins

Investment to Advance Drug Discovery at Exscientia

Oct 09 2017 Comments 0

Dundee University spin-out Exscientia Ltd has received a euros15m investment from Hamburg-based Evotec AG in exchange for a minority stake, making the German company the first strategic shareholder in the UK-based business. The investment will enable Exscientia, focused on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)-driven drug discovery and design, to drive higher value partner programmes and expand discovery on its automated platform.

With more than 1,800 scientists, Evotec has one of the largest and leading drug discovery platforms in the industry. The two companies have cooperated since early 2016 to advance small molecules and bispecific small molecules in immuno-oncology.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said, “Our investment in Exscientia represents Evotec’s single biggest equity placement to date and in, what we feel, is the world leading AI technology company. Working with Exscientia on a joint immuno-oncology project over the past year, we have experienced first-hand how its AI approaches, along with our medicinal chemistry platform, can positively and radically impact drug discovery. We are very excited about the joint potential to leverage AI in chemistry. This investment is also the first time that we can efficiently use our recently awarded €75 m loan facility from the European Investment Bank to bring down cost of capital for such an investment.”

Commenting on the investment, Dr Andrew Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Exscientia and Chair of Medicinal Informatics at the University of Dundee, added, “Exscientia and Evotec have built a close relationship over the past year sharing mutual interest in agile innovation. We are delighted that Evotec has made this investment for a minority equity stake, allowing Exscientia to deliver more drug discovery projects in a rapid and capital efficient manner. I’m also delighted that Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, will join Exscientia’s Board of Directors, allowing us to benefit from his strong operational expertise in growing successful biotech companies.”

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