The firm, which commercialises university intellectual property, said the agreement between drug designer Exscientia and Roche would involve using Exscientia’s Centaur Chemis artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery platform to design pre-clinical drug candidates for the Swiss firm in return for up to 67mln Swiss francs (£53.5mln) in upfront payments, research support and milestone payments.
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The agreement also contains tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any products that are developed as a result of the collaboration.
Professor Andrew Hopkins, chief executive of Exscientia, said the partnership “demonstrates the value of our AI-driven platform and its potential to deliver high value assets” and that the use of AI in early stage discovery had “the potential to offer transformational benefits in terms of productivity and quality to the generation of new medicines”.
Exscientia had also raised US$26mln in a Series B funding round to help scale up its pipeline and advance programmes toward clinical development.
The funding round included new investors such as Celgene Corp, an American biotech firm, and specialist healthcare investor GT Healthcare Capital Partners.
German drug developer Evotec, an existing investor, also participated.
Neil Crabb, chief executive of Frontier IP, said the announcements “confirm Exscientia's exciting potential” and that the backing of “major companies in the life sciences industry” had strengthened the firm’s belief that Exscientia “will become one of the leading AI-driven drug discovery companies in the world”.
In late-afternoon trading Monday, Frontier IP shares were up 1.2% at 81p.