New Partnership Will Focus on Spinning Out New Drug Companies, Digital Health

Partnership handshake

Germany-based Evotec, Oxford University and artificial intelligence expert Sensyne Health forged a partnership to form multiple spinout companies aimed at “accelerated data-driven drug discovery and development.”

The three entities will fund a new BRIDGE (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency) model known as LAB10x to drive research in the different fields of clinical artificial intelligence and digital health at Oxford. At the heart of the plan is the application of “breakthrough digital solutions” and “clinical AI algorithms” in the digital health discovery and development programs. According to the terms of the deal, the famed college’s Oxford University Innovation entity will source the digital health projects. That research will be boosted by the AI experts from Sensyne, which is also based in the U.K. Evotec, which developed the BRIDGE model in order to tap into academic research and forge partnerships with pharma companies, will provide access to its drug discovery expertise. The technologies developed by LAB10x will be applied to generate and analyze “anonymized” patient data sets to improve patient outcomes and accelerate medical research and pharmaceutical R&D, Evotec said in its announcement. 

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LAB10x is the fifth BRIDGE partnership the company has developed since 2016. Evotec’s partnership with Sensyne and Oxford comes about a month after the German company snapped up Seattle-based Just Biotherapeutics. The $90 million deal is expected to help Evotec’s long-term strategy in becoming an industry partner of choice for external end-to-end innovation, particularly as Evotec diversifies into biologics.

Evotec Chief Executive Officer Werner Lanthaler said the partnership with Sensyne and Oxford is an example of the power public-private partnerships can demonstrate to discover and develop next-generation medicines.

“The medicine of the future will see radical change, driven by the continuing expansion of drug discovery technologies like artificial intelligence and healthcare mega trends like digital health,” Lanthaler said in a statement.

More and more drug companies are delving into the use of artificial intelligence as part of their drug discovery efforts. Last month, U.K. pharma giant AstraZeneca announced a long-term collaboration deal with U.K.-based BenevolentAI to harness AI and machine learning in the discovery of medicines for chronic kidney disease. That deal followed other companies inking AI agreements to fuel drug discovery, including Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Paul Drayson, CEO of Sensyne Health, said LAB10x will leverage his company’s expertise in digital health and clinical AI toto ensure the science is brought through to application as quickly and efficiently as possible” in order to deliver future benefits for patients.

LAB10x will be supported by a fund of approximately £5 million (about $6.38 million) for an initial period of three years. Sensyne and Evotec will be entitled to equity from the LAB10x spin-out companies, alongside the university. Additionally, the two companies and Oxford will have the right to invest in any seed financing rounds for these startups. Sensyne and Evotec are also exploring other opportunities for collaboration, Evotec said.

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