AI drug R&D firm Exscientia expands into Japan

AI drug R&D firm Exscientia has announced it has expanded into Japan, after clinching a major research deal with Celgene.

Based in Oxford, UK, Exscientia said it has established a subsidiary, Exscientia K.K. which is to spearhead its pharmaceutical interests across Asia.

Exscientia K.K. is headquartered in Osaka, Japan, and led by Dr Daisuke Tanaka, an experienced medicinal chemist who previously was director of the Innovative Chemistry Group at Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma (DSP).

Dr Tanaka led DSP’s first collaboration with Exscientia, which resulted in the successful delivery by Exscientia to DSP of a completely novel candidate that was ready for application for US clinical trials in just 12 months.

This beat the industry average preclinical R&D period of around 4.5 years, the company noted.

The establishment of Exscientia K.K. will enable the company to target Japan’s many pharma companies, at a time when Takeda has become one of the world’s largest drug companies following its £46 billion acquisition of Shire earlier this year.

Exscientia said it plans to deliver business development and project support in Japan as well as providing a strategic base extending across the broader Asia region, including China, Singapore and South Korea.

The news comes after Exscientia’s announcement yesterday that it had signed a three-year drug discovery deal with Celgene.

Celgene will pay $25 million up front, with Exscientia eligible for milestone and royalty payments based on the success of the new medicines and future sales, in what is billed as one of the largest AI drug discovery deals in the industry.

Exscientia is already working with Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Evotec, and could receive more than $1 billion in milestones payments and royalties from these projects.

The company is also growing its proprietary pipeline to create its own portfolio of investigational drugs.

At the start of this year, Exscientia secured a $26 million Series B investment to expand its capabilities, develop its platform and build its proprietary drug pipeline.

Don't miss your daily pharmaphorum news.
SUBSCRIBE free here.