UK medtech company Exscientia raises $60 million to apply AI to drug discovery

British AI drug discovery company Exscientia has raised $60 million in a Series C financing round led by a new investor, Denmark’s Novo Holdings, with existing investors such as Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, and GT Healthcare Capital chipping in.

Oxford-based Exscientia applies artificial intelligence to small molecule drug discovery. Earlier this year, the company announced that the first ever precision-engineered drug designed using AI had entered Phase I human clinical trials, namely for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

With the fresh cash, the company aims to expand its portfolio and pipeline, and bolster AI biology as part of its ‘full-stack capabilities’. In addition, the company says it plans to accelerate its international expansion, including building out its presence in the United States.

And just in case you were wondering, yes, Exscientia is also working on coronavirus disease treatments; in March, the company announced a joint initiative with drug developer Calibr and Diamond Light Source, a science facility in Oxfordshire, to produce COVID-19 antiviral treatments.

“This investment highlights the increasing commitment to the potential of AI to transform drug discovery and the excitement that we have garnered around the innovative work we are doing at Exscientia,” said Prof. Andrew Hopkins, CEO and founder of Exscientia. “We have now demonstrated multiple times that our platform can accelerate the time between the start of an idea and a viable new drug candidate for patients in need of treatments, fast tracking the entire R&D process.”

Robert Ghenchev, who heads Novo Growth, the growth equity arm of Novo Holdings, is joining Exscientia’s board of directors as part of the financing round.

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