Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Evotec buys stake in Exscientia to advance AI-based drug discovery

PBR Staff Writer Published 29 September 2017

Germany-based Evotec has acquired a minority stake worth €15m in Exscientia to advance the British company’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery.

Through the investment, Evotec which calls itself as a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company has become the first strategic shareholder in Exscientia.

Evotec with over 1,800 scientists boasts of operating one of the largest drug discovery platforms in the pharma industry.

Its investment in Exscientia is expected to help the latter in pushing higher value partner programmes besides expanding discovery on its automated design platform.

Exscientia CEO Prof. Andrew Hopkins said: “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.”

Even before the investment, Evotec and Exscientia have been associated with each other in the immuno-oncology field by jointly working on advancing small molecules and bispecific small molecules.

Evotec CEO Dr Werner Lanthaler said: “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 EUR 75 m loan facility from the European Investment Bank to bring down cost of capital for such an investment.”

Exscientia works with other pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and GSK by providing its artificial intelligence program for their respective drug discoveries.

Image: Evotec’s invests in a company focused on AI-based drug discovery. Photo: courtesy of Toeytoey/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.