Sanofi and Exscientia establish strategic research collaboration

Sanofi and Exscientia will develop up to 15 novel drug candidates by leveraging the latter’s AI discovery and optimisation platform.

Medicine to be developed by Sanofi and Exscientia

Sanofi and Exscientia have announced that they will take part in a ground-breaking research collaboration and licence agreement. The companies will develop up to 15 novel small molecule candidates across oncology and immunology, leveraging Exscientia’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform, utilising actual patient samples, having worked together since 2016. 

“We look forward to deepening our work with Exscientia, a leader in leveraging AI to modernise all aspects of drug discovery and development,” said Frank Nestle, Global Head of Research and Chief Scientific Officer, Sanofi. “Sanofi’s collaboration with Exscientia aims to transform how we discover and develop new small molecule medicines for cancer and immune-mediated diseases. Application of sophisticated AI and machine learning methods will not only shorten drug discovery timelines, but will also help to design higher quality and better targeted medicines for patients.”

Exscientia and Sanofi will collaborate to identify and select target projects, leveraging Exscientia’s personalised medicine platform. The platform enables a “patient-first” approach through integrating primary human tissue samples into early target and drug discovery research. By doing so, Exscientia scientists can integrate patient, disease and clinically relevant data into decisions on potential new medicine candidates earlier in the drug creation process. In addition to target discovery, Exscientia will lead small molecule drug design and lead optimisation activities up to development candidate nomination, with Sanofi assuming responsibility for pre-clinical and clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation.

“It is immensely exciting to collaborate with Sanofi with our goal of realising the full potential of AI to deliver the next generation of cancer and immunology medicines,” said Dr Andrew Hopkins, CEO and founder of Exscientia. “Our AI-driven platform can be leveraged across drug discovery, translational research and development, with applications ranging from improving the precision medicine and quality of drug candidates to enriching for patient selection in clinical trials. Our expanded collaboration with Sanofi will utilise the breadth of our platform to test AI-designed drug candidates against patient tissue models, potentially providing far better accuracy than conventional approaches such as mouse models. When you consider the change this represents – testing candidates against actual human tissue years before a clinical trial – it is transformative.”