Dundee life sciences firm Exscientia has access to almost £400 million after its latest fundraising round.
The Dundee University spin-out company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to design drugs.
Its latest funding round raised $225m (£162m) with an additional $300m (£216m) available from SoftBank at Exscientia’s discretion.
What will the money be used for?
Chief executive Andrew Hopkins said the investment would be used to expand the firm’s drug pipeline and discovery capabilities.
He said: “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.
“The quality and depth of our shareholder base allows us the freedom to continue to scale both our platform and pipeline.”
Firm set to ‘reshape’ the industry
Exscientia uses AI across its platform to precision engineer new medicines.
It has advanced two fully AI-designed drugs into clinical trials and has over 20 active programs in its pipeline.
The company continues to have a base in Dundee in the Dundee One building at City Quay. It also has offices in Oxford, Miami and Osaka. It employs over 100 people from 20 different nations.
Exciting day as we announce an investment of up to $525 million led by @Softbank, with a fantastic group of investors. Finding smarter ways to discover new drugs with #AI is what drives Exscientia. This Series D investment helps us do that. Read here➡️ https://t.co/82RckUTBUf
— Exscientia (@exscientiaAI) April 27, 2021
SoftBank led the Series D fundraising round and was joined by previous round lead investors, Novo Holdings and Blackrock.
Eric Chen, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “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.
“The Exscientia team have been leaders in AI-based drug discovery since the field’s inception and we believe they will continue shaping its future.”
The Exscientia technology explained
Drug design is precision engineering at the molecular scale. Exscientia’s systems efficiently learn from the widest range of data and consistently reapply enhanced knowledge.
It means Exscientia’s AI platform learns more effectively and rapidly than human-led efforts alone.
Exscientia believes that designing better drugs, faster, will allow the best ideas of science to rapidly become the best medicines for patients.
To date, the company has been able to advance seven precision designed drugs from project initiation to development candidate in an average time of 12 months.
The firm’s last funding round in March raised another $100m.
Exscientia has doubled in size over the past year and expects to double again in 2021.
Mr Hopkins will participate in the BioDundee conference next month.