Exscientia, a pharmatech company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to design patient-based drugs, has announced the completion of a $225 million Series D funding round – with an additional $300 million equity commitment available.
The company uses AI in a number of ways across its platform – from target identification through to drug design and patient selection, in order to precision engineer new medicines.
With its first two fully AI-designed drugs now in clinical trials – and more than 20 ‘active’ programmes in the pipeline overall – the new funding will be used for advancing the proprietary pipeline through clinical testing, as well as to ‘continue expanding the technology platform toward autonomous drug design’.
The Exscientia platform combines high content phenomics, novel biophysics and deep learning from biological data – information which is then translated into the design of precision drugs through proprietary AI algorithms driven by models. It has so far been able to advance seven precision designed drugs from project initiation to development candidate, in an average time of 12 months.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the Series D and was joined by previous round lead investors, Novo Holdings and funds managed by Blackrock, as well as others such as Mubadala Investment Company, Farallon Capital, Casdin Capital, GT Healthcare Capital, Marshall Wace, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Laurion Capital, Hongkou and Bristol Myers Squibb. In addition, SoftBank is providing an additional $300 million equity commitment.
Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, said of the news: “All of our investors share Exscientia’s vision to discover better drugs, faster, through AI and automation. Our patient-first AI platform has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to precision design drugs that address patients’ needs. With the Series D completed, the quality and depth of our shareholder base allows us the freedom to continue to scale both our platform and pipeline.”
Eric Chen, Managing Partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, added: “We believe Exscientia’s innovative use of AI to discover and design better quality drugs with greater efficiency has the potential to create important medicines faster than ever before. With the convergence of technology and biology, drug discovery is rapidly evolving in ways that will reshape the industry.”