AI-driven pharmatech firm agrees $70m partnership with Gates foundation
AI-driven drug company Exscientia has agreed a $70m partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop virus treatments.
The Oxford-based company and non-profit foundation will work on coronaviruses at first before expanding to develop therapeutics for influenza and Nipah virus.
The partnership will develop small molecule therapeutics that are less susceptible to variants.
Treatments will be drugs that can be taken orally and involve lower costs of manufacturing and storage, broadening access for patients.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic had highlighted the urgency to develop safe broad-spectrum drugs, the AI company said.
Chief executive of Exscientia, Andrew Hopkins, added: “We need to fight today’s pandemic but also ensure we are prepared with new drugs to combat viruses with future pandemic potential.
“We believe that our AI-driven platform can accelerate the creation of better, more effective therapeutics that can address some of the world’s most critical and emerging health risks.”
Japanese investor SoftBank led the round, alongside existing investors Novo Holdings and BlackRock.