BMS to develop Exscientia’s AI-designed, immune-modulating drug candidate

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has elected to in-license an immune-modulating drug candidate created by Exscientia, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven pharmatech company.

Exscientia has two active collaborations with BMS, which together focus on multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology and immunology. A significant expansion of the relationship was announced earlier this year.

The in-licensed candidate targets a critical immunological kinase that historically has proven difficult to target due to the need for a combination of potency, selectivity, and overall drug-like properties.

To design a novel candidate that overcame these issues, Exscientia utilized its end-to-end platform to drive the discovery process, including AI-driven design, structural biology, chemistry, and pharmacology, as well as late-stage preclinical studies.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia said: “This drug candidate molecule was just the 150th novel compound to be designed and tested and it was identified within 11 months of starting drug design.

“In partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb and its world-class research, clinical and commercialisation capabilities, we look forward to advancing this candidate into the next stage of development.”

Rupert Vessey, President of Research & Early Development at Bristol Myers Squibb said: “We are pleased to in-license our first drug candidate resulting from our strategic collaboration with Exscientia.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to play important roles in drug discovery and Exscientia has delivered a promising development candidate in the field of immunology.”

BMS will be responsible for clinical and commercial development of the drug candidate. As per the agreement, Exscientia will receive a $20 million option exercise fee with the potential for additional development milestones as well as tiered royalties on any product sales.

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