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Exscientia announces AI drug discovery collaboration with Merck

Exscientia –  a world-leading pharmatech company in AI drug discovery with laboratory and robotics work based at Milton Park – has  announced a new collaboration with multi-national life science company with Merk KGaA, Germany.

The multi-year collaboration focuses on the discovery of novel small molecule drug candidates across oncology, neuroinflammation and immunology.

It will utilise Exscientia’s AI-driven precision drug design and discovery capabilities while leveraging Merck’s disease expertise in oncology and neuroinflammation, clinical development capabilities and global footprint.

In addition to the three identified targets, the collaboration will allow Merck and Exscientia to identify additional targets in oncology and immunology or other mutually agreed disease areas. Should Exscientia identify additional targets for the collaboration, the company would be responsible for target validation in addition to drug design and eligible for additional discovery milestones.

Professor Andrew Hopkins FRS FMedSci, founder and Chief Executive Officer at Exscientia, said: “We’re pleased that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany chose our team of experts for this AI-led drug discovery collaboration.

“We look forward to complementing their outstanding scientific acumen with our integrated technology platform and ability to generate novel data in order to address some of the hardest drug design challenges in cancer and immunology.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Exscientia will receive an upfront payment of $20 million from Merck and will be eligible for discovery, development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments of up to $674 million in aggregate, if all milestones for all three initial programmes are achieved.

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