Dundee life science firm Exscientia opens new Oxford office

Richard Bickerton, chief informatics officer and Daniel Crowther, head of target analysis, at Exscientia in Dundee.

Dundee-based drug discovery company Exscientia yesterday announced it is opening a new office in Oxford.

The life science firm, which spun out from Dundee University, said it hopes the move will help access to “international clients and collaborators”.

The development is in parallel with the planned expansion of Exscientia’s Dundee offices.

Company CEO Andrew Hopkins said: “Opening an Oxford office allows us to have a home at the centre of UK biotech creativity.

“This move comes at a key time for Exscientia, having recently announced exciting strategic partnerships with GSK and Sanofi and our first external investment from Evotec.

“Our new offices have been carefully designed to foster a creative environment for team members.

“The expansion of Exscientia at Oxford and Dundee is part of our plan to recruit highly talented personnel to drive our mission to improve the way new medicines are discovered by application of artificial intelligence.”

Exscientia is at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery and design.

By fusing the power of AI with the discovery experience of seasoned drug hunters, Exscientia is the first company to automate drug design, surpassing conventional approaches.

The rapidly expanding company’s innovative platform enables breakthrough productivity gains as well as new approaches to improve drug efficacy.

In May the Dundee University spin off company signed a deal with global pharma company Sanofi potentially worth up to £210 million.

Sanofi is looking to bring a new generation of diabetes drugs to market with the capability of targeting two of the acute symptoms of the disease with a single pill or treatment.

Instead of using traditional and very time-consuming lab-based methods to bring forward new drug candidates, Exscientia has developed artificially intelligent algorithms that carry out the drug design work on outsourced cloud computing networks.

At the time Mr Hopkins described the deal as a “milestone” for the company.

In July, Exscientia agreed a strategic drug discovery collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), potentially worth up to £33m, to discover up to 10 new molecules to combat a range of diseases.

Then in September, German drug giant Evotec took a minority stake in Exscientia in return for €15m of new investment to accelerate growth.