A Dundee firm which is a world leader in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to aid drug discovery will focus on finding cures for rare diseases with its latest pharma partnership.
Exscientia, which was spun-out from Dundee University, has secured seven major pharma collaborations estimated to be worth over a $1 billion in total development milestones and royalties.
The firm has now entered into a collaboration with USA-based drug discovery company Rallybio.
The collaboration will combine Exscientia’s AI drug discovery platform with Rallybio’s expertise in rare disease drug development to accelerate the discovery of small molecule drug therapeutics for undisclosed rare disease indications.
The financial details of the collaboration have not been disclosed.
Andrew Hopkins, chief executive of Exscientia, said: “There is a huge potential for artificial intelligence to revolutionise and democratise rare disease drug discovery.
“AI can fast track, simplify and lower the price of research and we are thrilled to be partnering with Rallybio.
“The future of drug discovery in rare diseases is to be able to address the need for precision engineered drugs at scale and our collaboration with Rallybio is the first step in this direction.”
Exscientia aims to shorten the pre-clinical trial stage for new drugs from five years to just one. The firm believes it can cut the costs of bringing a new drug to market by as much as 30%.
It is estimated there are between 7,000 and 8,000 rare diseases, which affect 25 to 30 million Americans and 30 to 40 million European Union citizens.
These diseases pose unique challenges to the healthcare systems around the world because they require specific medical expertise and significant drug research, diagnostic and screening capabilities in order to treat these patients.
Steve Uden, chief operating officer of Rallybio, added: “Our joint venture brings together Exscientia’s industry-leading AI drug discovery capabilities with Rallybio’s expertise in rare disease drug development.
“We believe this collaboration will accelerate the development of life-transforming therapies for patients suffering from severe and rare disorders.”