Sanofi exercises Option on Exscientia-designed Bispecific Small Molecule for treatment of immunological conditions
AI Design enables new bispecific small molecule modality
Oxford, 5 August 2019: Exscientia, the world-leading Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, today announced that Sanofi has exercised its option to progress an innovative Bispecific Small molecule project it discovered as part of its new modality collaboration. The novel, first-in-class, bispecific investigational small molecule targets two distinct, biologically validated pathways related to inflammation and the progression of fibrosis.
Commenting on this relationship, Andrew Hopkins (CEO, Exscientia) said: “We are delighted that Sanofi has exercised this option to advance a key collaboration program. The opportunity identified with Sanofi focuses on two highly relevant disease targets where normally two separate molecules would be required to achieve the relevant therapeutic effect. Our AI-driven systems, coupled with integrated chemistry and assay resource from Sanofi, identified a single small molecule, with integrated pharmacophore, capable of interacting productively with both targets. To our knowledge the Exscientia platform is the only system capable of implementing such designs.”
Bispecific Small Molecules are a new concept where a single compound is designed to productively interact with two distinct drug targets, instead of requiring two independent compounds. In contrast with previous approaches, where relatively large bi-functional compounds were made by tethering two existing molecules together with a linker, Exscientia has pioneered the discovery of Bispecific Small Molecules that simultaneously fulfil the binding site requirements of two targets through an integrated pharmacophore. Due to their low molecular weight Bispecific Small Molecules are suitable for oral delivery.
Over the past two years Exscientia has generated nearly 100 billion novel compounds through evolutionary design (six orders of magnitude larger than searching for hit molecules using conventional HTS) to specifically explore bispecific small molecule opportunities for over one thousand disease-relevant target combinations in the areas of metabolic disease and fibrosis. Those with the strongest potential were synthesised and validated experimentally by Sanofi to confirm Exscientia’s dual target hypothesis.
This exercise option is the result of two years of work identifying promising dual target opportunities. For the licensed programme reaching agreed delivery criteria, a series of development and sales milestones may be payable by Sanofi.
The 2017 partnership announcement can be accessed here.
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.
Exscientia’s innovative Centaur Chemist™ platform enables breakthrough productivity gains as well as new approaches to improve drug efficacy. Novel compounds are automatically designed and prioritised for synthesis by its AI systems, which rapidly evolve compounds towards the desired candidate criteria for clinical development.
Exscientia systems learn from both existing data resources and experimental data from each design cycle. The principle is similar to how a human would learn, but the AI process is far more effective at identifying and assimilating multiple subtle and complex trends to balance potency, selectivity and pharmacokinetic criteria. As a result, the AI-driven process is more likely to achieve the end goal and to do this more rapidly and efficiently than traditional human endeavour.
Exscientia is collaborating with several leading pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, including Celgene, GSK, Sanofi, Roche and Evotec.
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