Exscientia Enters Four-Year Collaboration for Development of Antiviral Therapeutics

Exscientia has entered into a four-year agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of small-molecule therapeutics that can tackle coronavirus and other viruses with pandemic potential.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven pharmatech company, Exscientia, has entered into a four-year agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of small-molecule therapeutics that can tackle coronavirus and other viruses with pandemic potential.

Initially, the collaboration will focus on the development of broad-spectrum coronavirus agents, including Exscientia’s lead program that targets the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, it was revealed in a Sep. 8, 2021 press release. Afterwards, the collaboration will be expanded to include the development of therapeutics for influenza and Paramyxoviridae, with the potential for further programs to be developed.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency to develop safe and effective broad-spectrum drugs to expand our armory against viruses and their variants. We need to fight today’s pandemic but also ensure we are prepared with new drugs to combat viruses with future pandemic potential. We are honored to work alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance this mission by ensuring accessibility and affordability of these therapeutics globally,” said Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, in the press release. “We believe that our AI-driven platform can accelerate the creation of better, more effective therapeutics that can address some of the world’s most critical and emerging health risks.”

“Small molecule therapeutics could provide a superior approach to guard global health,” added Denise Barrault, director of Portfolio Management at Exscientia, in the press release. “Certain targets are prevalent across families of viruses, meaning that potent therapeutics could be broadly effective across multiple virus families. Further, this collaboration will focus on evaluating protein targets that are evolutionarily conserved and are less likely to develop resistance.”

Source: Exscientia