RESEARCH

Exscientia and Bristol Myers Squibb Enter Into a Multi-Target, AI-Driven Drug Discovery Partnership

Exscientia, Bristol Myers Squibb | May 20, 2021

Exscientia, an AI-driven pharma tech company in the clinical-stage announced today that it has signed a partnership agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Exscientia's portfolio of shared assets will benefit from this extended partnership and will contribute to Bristol Myers Squibb's drug pipeline. The partnership will use artificial intelligence to speed up the development of small molecule therapeutic drug candidates in a variety of therapeutic fields, including oncology and immunology. The agreement is worth up to $1.2 billion including up to $50 million in upfront funding, and up to $125 million in near-to-mid-term future milestones, and other clinical, regulatory, and commercial payments. Exscientia will also receive tiered royalty based on the net sales of any marketed drug products as a result of the partnership.

This extended collaboration builds on Exscientia's existing partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, which began in 2019 with Celgene before Bristol Myers Squibb purchased Celgene. Exscientia will be in charge of the AI design and experimental work needed to identify drug candidates for Bristol Myers Squibb as part of this partnership. Exscientia's AI-driven drug discovery platform will be used to create molecules and will deliver optimized compounds that meet complex design goals quickly and more efficiently than traditional drug discovery.

Exscientia's drug discovery platform has a proven track record and has been the one to advance AI-designed small molecule drug candidates into clinical studies. Exscientia has previously partnered with large pharmaceutical firms such as Bayer, Sanofi, and Dainippon Sumitomo, as well as several new biotech companies and the Gates Foundation, highlighting the company's reputation as the go-to partner for high-value AI-driven drug discovery. More than a dozen partnered or wholly-owned drugs are currently in development in the company. Exscientia recently raised $525 million in a Series D investment led by Softbank to expand its technology capability and proprietary drug pipeline.

About Exscientia
Exscientia's AI-driven, end-to-end drug discovery platform is designed to revolutionize the process of developing new drugs by creating therapeutics for areas of high unmet medical need that could benefit patients in much less time than industry standards. Exscientia is the first clinical-stage organization to bring AI-designed small molecules to the clinic, demonstrating AI's ability to transform the pharmaceutical industry.

At the molecular scale, drug design is precision engineering. Exscientia has built dedicated AI systems that effectively learn from a wide range of data and continuously re-apply enhanced information through design iterations to transform the industry. Candidate molecules satisfying complex therapeutic criteria are discovered with groundbreaking efficiency by Exscientia's AI systems, which learn faster and more efficiently than human-led efforts.

Spotlight

The FDA’s cGMPs for the 21st Century: A Risk-Based Approach Initiative In early 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their Pharmaceutical cGMPs for the 21st Century: A Risk-Based Approach initiative. According to the FDA position paper: “The FDA oversees the quality of drug products using a two-pronged approach involving review of information submitted in applications as well as inspection of manufacturing facilities for conformance to requirements for current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). These two programs have served the country well by helping to ensure the quality of drug products available in the US. Now, as we approach the 25th anniversary of the last major revision to the drug cGMP regulations, it is time to step back and evaluate the currency of these programs.

Spotlight

The FDA’s cGMPs for the 21st Century: A Risk-Based Approach Initiative In early 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their Pharmaceutical cGMPs for the 21st Century: A Risk-Based Approach initiative. According to the FDA position paper: “The FDA oversees the quality of drug products using a two-pronged approach involving review of information submitted in applications as well as inspection of manufacturing facilities for conformance to requirements for current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). These two programs have served the country well by helping to ensure the quality of drug products available in the US. Now, as we approach the 25th anniversary of the last major revision to the drug cGMP regulations, it is time to step back and evaluate the currency of these programs.

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PHARMA TECH

Zerion Pharma and Hovione extend partnership to cover use of the Dispersome® technology platform in nutraceuticals

Zerion Pharma and Hovione | August 24, 2022

Hovione and Zerion Pharma announced an extension of their collaboration on Zerion's Dispersome® technology into the nutraceutical/dietary supplements field. Many dietary supplements suffer from low solubility. This results in poor bioavailability and consequently limits the physiological effect of the supplement. To overcome these limitations, the two companies will collaborate and apply the solubility enhancing Dispersome® technology for the development and commercialization of certain nutraceutical products. The first product candidate selected for joint development is an antioxidant with multiple health benefits and known for its extremely low solubility and bioavailability. By applying the Dispersome® technology, Zerion has been able to demonstrate significant solubility improvements of this antioxidant. Under their collaboration, Hovione and Zerion will now upscale and develop commercial formulations of the antioxidant using the Dispersome® platform and make these products available for distribution by partners globally. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, the two companies will share income from the commercialization of these products according to their respective contributions. In addition to the joint development projects, Zerion has granted Hovione an exclusive license to exploit the Dispersome® technology for other nutraceuticals/dietary supplements. In return, Hovione will pay Zerion license fees and royalties on sales of the licensed products. "The low oral bioavailability of some of the health-promoting nutraceutical compounds is a well-known challenge. The problem is compounded by the fact that some of the solutions used in pharma cannot be used in foods. Hovione is thrilled to be Zerion´s exclusive partner for the application of Dispersome® to the fields of nutraceuticals and dietary supplements. The Dispersome® platform and its enabling ingredient – beta-lactoglobulin or BLG – afford formulators new options which address unmet needs of the industry." Jean-Luc Herbeaux, CEO of Hovione "I am extremely pleased with this extension of our collaboration", says Ole Wiborg, CEO of Zerion and continues: "The Dispersome® technology is actually very well suited for use in dietary supplements because it employs BLG as its solubility enabling component. BLG is a sustainable natural material and in itself a beneficial nutritional product that we source in high quality from Arla Food Ingredients. Since we as a company only have limited resources to exploit these promising applications of the Dispersome® technology in the nutraceutical field, the collaboration with Hovione is a win/win situation." In February 2022, Zerion and Hovione announced a strategic partnership aimed at commercializing the Dispersome® technology within the drug development field. Under this partnership, Hovione and Zerion are offering pharma and biotech companies worldwide access to an innovative drug delivery platform combined with an unparalleled experience in formulation development, scale up and GMP manufacturing. This unique combination provides customers in the pharma industry with a line of sight over the entire drug development life cycle from the preclinical phase to commercial drug product. About Hovione Hovione is an international company with over 60 years of experience as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) with a fully integrated offering of services for drug substance, drug product intermediate and drug product. The company has four FDA inspected sites in the USA, Portugal, Ireland and China and development laboratories in Lisbon, Portugal and New Jersey, USA. Hovione provides pharmaceutical customers services for the development and compliant manufacture of innovative drugs, including highly potent compounds, and customized product solution across the entire drug life cycle. In the inhalation area, Hovione offers a complete range of services, from API, formulation development and devices. Hovione´s culture is based on innovation, quality and delivery. Hovione was the first Chemical/ Pharmaceutical Company to become a Certified B Corp, is a member of Rx-360, EFCG and participates actively in industry quality improvement initiatives to lead new global industry standards. About Zerion Pharma A/S Zerion develops proprietary drug formulations and offers the Dispersome® technology to established pharma companies as a means to solve their most challenging drug solubility problems. By applying the Dispersome® technology, the solubility of poorly soluble, oral drugs is greatly enhanced, which improves their bioavailability and therapeutic outcomes for the patients. Zerion was established in 2019 as a spinout from the University of Copenhagen based on almost a decade of research.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Septerna Strengthens Leadership Team to Advance Novel Small Molecule GPCR Medicines

Septerna | July 29, 2022

Septerna, a biotechnology company discovering and advancing novel small molecule medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors announced the addition of Liz Bhatt, MS, MBA, as Chief Operating Officer, and Ran Xiao as Vice President of Finance and Business Operations to its leadership team. Septerna launched in January 2022 and is growing a pipeline of differentiated products using its GPCR Native Complex™ platform to unlock the vast untapped potential of GPCR drug targets for a wide range of diseases. We are thrilled to welcome Liz and Ran as we continue to build our exceptional team. Together, they bring deep experience in corporate, commercial, and business strategy. They also have significant operational expertise building and supporting both private and public companies,” said Jeffrey Finer, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Septerna and Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures. “Since our launch in January, we’ve made rapid progress advancing our platform and early discovery programs, and now expanding our focus to strategic growth and operational excellence is absolutely critical so that we can fully realize the untapped opportunity space for new GPCR medicines.” “Septerna launched with the ambitious plan to expand the GPCR target landscape by developing and industrializing new drug discovery technologies and processes that can convert this target-rich superfamily of proteins into impactful new therapies for patients across a range of therapeutic areas. I’m excited to be working with a team of talented GPCR scientists and drug hunters and look forward to using my experience leading teams and developing corporate and product strategies to build Septerna into a robust company poised for long-term growth.” Ms. Bhatt Liz Bhatt brings more than 25 years of strategy, deal-making and company-building experience across a range of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Liz was previously Chief Business & Strategy Officer at Applied Molecular Transport where she oversaw corporate development, portfolio and project management, and commercial strategy. Prior to AMT, Liz was Chief Operating Officer at Achaogen where she held various strategic and operational roles. Liz spent over a decade at Gilead Sciences as VP, Corporate Development leading deals across all therapeutic areas and as Senior Director, Commercial Strategy leading long-term global commercial and strategic planning, and supporting the launch of several products. Liz also held management roles at Eli Lilly and Maxygen and started her career in research at Affymax. She currently serves as an independent director on the board of eFFECTOR Therapeutics. Liz earned a BA in chemistry from Pomona College, an MS in biomedical sciences from the University of California San Diego, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Ran Xiao has more than 20 years of experience in corporate accounting, finance, and business operations in the biotech industry. Prior to Septerna, Ran was the VP of Finance and Corporate Controller at Ambys Medicines, Inc, where she supported the company launch and managed various general and administrative functions through a rapid growth period. Before joining Ambys, Ran was the Corporate Controller at Corvus Pharmaceuticals, where she played a key role in the company’s initial public offering. Prior to Corvus, Ran held various managerial positions at Intermune, Natus Medical, Celera Genomics and CV Therapeutics. Ran has a BS in accounting from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Ran is a Chartered Financial Analyst. About GPCRs G protein-coupled receptors are the largest and most diverse family of cell membrane receptors, and humans have hundreds of different GPCRs, each involved in controlling specific biological functions. GPCRs on the surface of each cell bind a wide range of external signaling molecules from throughout the body, and the GPCR transmits the signal across the cell membrane to drive internal cellular mechanisms. GPCRs have been widely studied as drug targets and are the largest family of proteins targeted by approved drug products. An estimated 700 approved drugs target GPCRs, representing approximately one-third of all currently approved drugs. Despite the pharmacological success of GPCRs as a drug class to date, the large majority of potential therapeutic GPCR targets remain undrugged. About Septerna Septerna, Inc., is a biotechnology company creating broad new drug discovery opportunities across many disease areas for the abundant drug target class of G protein-coupled receptors. The company’s Native Complex™ Platform recapitulates GPCRs with their native structure, function, and dynamics outside of the cellular environment to enable new technologies for industrial-scale drug discovery for the entire GPCR target class for the first time. Septerna has an emerging pipeline of GPCR-targeted small molecule drug discovery programs, along with growth potential to reach many GPCRs that have been undruggable and unexploited to date. Septerna was launched in 2022 by scientific founders who have made groundbreaking GPCR discoveries and by founding investor Third Rock Ventures.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

WuXi STA Breaks Ground for New Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility in Middletown, Delaware

WuXi AppTec | August 17, 2022

WuXi STA, a leading Contract Research, Development, and Manufacturing Organization is pleased to announce the groundbreaking for its new 190-acre pharmaceutical manufacturing campus in Middletown, Delaware. First announced in June 2021, this site will be WuXi STA's second facility in the United States, offering expanded capacity and greater flexibility to meet the needs of customers in the U.S. and around the world. The WuXi STA Middletown site is located in the Middletown Business Center at 1091 Industrial Drive, and the new state-of-the-art facility will create approximately 500 full-time jobs by 2026. Phase I of the new campus will provide formulation development, clinical and commercial drug product manufacturing services for a variety of oral and injectable dosage forms, as well as packaging, labeling, storage and distribution services for clinical trial materials and commercial drug products. WuXi STA has 12 sites across the U.S., Europe and Asia that offer a range of services and meet or exceed all regulatory standards. Together with three other drug product manufacturing sites in Couvet Wuxi City (China) and Shanghai this new facility will further enhance the company's global drug production capacity and capabilities. "The biopharmaceutical industry is part of Delaware's DNA. Over the next five years, WuXi STA plans to build a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing campus in one of Delaware's fastest-growing communities, bringing with it good jobs and economic growth. This campus is only possible because of Delaware's world-class, innovative workforce. Thank you to WuXi STA, Middletown Mayor Kenny Branner and everyone who made this project possible." Delaware Governor John Carney "The First State continues to be a first-rate destination for businesses looking to innovate and grow," said Senator Tom Carper. "This investment by WuXi STA helps position Delaware as a continued global leader in biopharmaceuticals, further cementing the manufacturing might of one of our fastest growing communities. Delaware's workforce is ready to help build the future of our life-saving pharmaceuticals. This state-of-the-art campus will create good jobs and help fortify our supply chains here at home." "This biopharmaceutical facility is one most significant private sector investment ever in the Middletown region," said Senator Chris Coons. "I am excited about WuXi STA's decision to choose Middletown for one of their new manufacturing facilities. This isn't just the largest private-sector investment in Middletown's history – it's a defining moment that will bring many more good-paying jobs to Delaware and will further cement the First State as a world leader in biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing. Thanks are due to everyone from Middletown to Dover to Washington who helped us get to this point, whether by making continued investments in NIIMBL, improving our education system from kindergarten to our universities, or ensuring that Delaware workers have the skills manufacturers like WuXi AppTec are looking for." "As the First State, Delaware has always had a spirit of innovation – constantly seeking new opportunities and ventures that will strengthen our economy and our state as a whole," said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. "Today's groundbreaking of the WuXi STA pharmaceutical manufacturing plant represents another step in that spirit of innovation – bringing good-paying jobs to Middletown and strengthening communities throughout Delaware. The state-of-the-art facility will bring 500 full-time jobs over the next several years, growing our state's workforce and allowing us to manufacture more goods domestically - enhancing our economic competitiveness on the global stage." "We are truly looking forward to our partnership with WuXi STA, as the groundbreaking today marks the kick-off to them making their new home in Middletown, Delaware. WuXi STA will be joining our bustling industrial area, just steps away from Clarios, Datwyler, Amazon and Breakthru Beverage, just some of the companies that have invested in Middletown. When asked by WuXi STA about our business-friendly attitude, these businesses expressed their wholehearted support for how we do business and we couldn't be more excited about WuXi STA wanting to join them, and the Town of Middletown, in our journey together," said Middletown Mayor Ken Branner. Branner added he was thankful for the support of Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. "I would like to thank our federal, state and local partners in Delaware for their continued support in the establishment of this site," said Dr. Minzhang Chen, co-CEO of WuXi AppTec and CEO of WuXi STA. "WuXi STA continues to increase our capabilities and capacities to better serve our customers through a more robust and reliable supply chain. With our integrated Contract Research, Development, and Manufacturing Organization platform and proven quality system, we look forward to working with our customers to swiftly deliver their innovative therapies to market in order to save lives and improve healthcare for patients." About WuXi STA WuXi STA a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec is a leading pharmaceutical development and manufacturing capability and technology platform company serving the life sciences industry, with global operations. As a premier Contract Research, Development, and Manufacturing Organization WuXi STA offers its worldwide partners efficient, flexible and high-quality solutions for integrated chemical, manufacturing and controls from preclinical to commercial uses, including the development and manufacturing of small molecule, oligonucleotide, peptide and various complex chemical conjugate. About WuXi AppTec As a global company with operations across Asia, Europe, and North America, WuXi AppTec provides a broad portfolio of R&D and manufacturing services that enable the global pharmaceutical and healthcare industry to advance discoveries and deliver groundbreaking treatments to patients. Through its unique business models, WuXi AppTec's integrated, end-to-end services include chemistry drug CRDMO biology discovery, preclinical testing and clinical research services, cell and gene therapies CTDMO helping customers improve the productivity of advancing healthcare products through cost-effective and efficient solutions. WuXi AppTec received AA ESG rating from MSCI in 2021 and its open-access platform is enabling more than 5,850 collaborators from over 30 countries to improve the health of those in need – and to realize the vision that "every drug can be made and every disease can be treated."

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