RESEARCH

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

Exscientia, Bristol Myers Squibb | May 20, 2021

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

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

FSD Pharma Announces Launch of New Corporate Website

FSD Pharma Inc. | January 24, 2022

FSD Pharma Inc. a life sciences holding company dedicated to building a portfolio of assets and biotech solutions, announced today the launch of its newly designed website. The new site conveys the Company’s emerging position within the biopharmaceutical industry and its ongoing commitment to bring novel treatment solutions for brain and inflammatory disorders to millions of patients in need. “We have strategically assembled a team of scientists to help develop our powerful pipeline of next-generation therapeutics. With some of the greatest minds in neurology and inflammation working together to advance our promising therapeutic compounds, and supported by a strong balance sheet, we believe that we are very well positioned to continue the advancement of our three leading drug candidates: Lucid-MS, Lucid-PSYCH and FSD-PEA. The new look and user-friendly experience of FSD Pharma’s website reflects that, while also serving to educate clinicians, researchers, patients, and investors about our unique approach to delivering 'Total Brain Health'.” Anthony Durkacz, Interim CEO of FSD Pharma About FSD Pharma FSD Pharma Inc. is a biotechnology company with three drug candidates in different stages of development. FSD BioSciences, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary, is focused on pharmaceutical research and development of its lead compound, ultra-micronized palmitoyl ethylamine or FSD-PEA Lucid Psycheceuticals Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary, is focused on the research and development of its lead compounds, Lucid-PSYCH and Lucid-MS. Lucid PSYCH is a molecular compound identified for the potential treatment of mental health disorders. Lucid-MS is a molecular compound identified for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

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PHARMA TECH

CSL Limited announces tender offer to acquire Vifor Pharma Ltd

Vifor Pharma Group | December 15, 2021

Global biotechnology leader CSL Limited and Vifor Pharma Ltd, a global specialty pharmaceutical company with leadership in iron deficiency, nephrology & cardio-renal therapies, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for CSL to acquire Vifor Pharma for an aggregate equity value for Vifor Pharma of US$ 11.7 / CHF 10.9 billion. CSL has offered to acquire Vifor Pharma in an all-cash tender offer of US$179.25 per share, payable in U.S. dollars.1 The offer assumes a dividend of CHF 2 expected to be declared at the AGM of 26 April, consistent with past practice. The tender offer represents an implied premium of approximately 61% to the unaffected closing price of Vifor Pharma on 1 December 2021 and a 47% premium to Vifor Pharma’s unaffected 1-month VWAP as of 1 December 2021.2 Patinex AG, Vifor Pharma’s largest shareholder holding 23.2% has agreed to tender its shares into the offer. The Transaction remains subject to the conditions and further terms including: Minimum acceptance rate of 80% of all Vifor Pharma shares on a fully diluted basis; and further customary offer conditions, including regulatory approvals. The tender is currently expected to commence around 18 January 2022 and the transaction is expected to complete around mid-2022. The Board of Directors of Vifor Pharma considers that the proposed transaction respects the interests of all stakeholders and is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. There is committed financing for the deal and a strong commitment to pursue regulatory clearances. “Vifor Pharma's strategy has been to focus towards continuing being a market leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The offer provides an excellent strategic opportunity for Vifor Pharma to optimize future market opportunities from a position of strength and to create substantial value for all stakeholders.” Jacques Theurillat, Chairman of the Board of Directors Vifor Pharma Group The transaction will enable Vifor Pharma to leverage CSL’s global reach, balance sheet and capabilities to bring more products to patients within its key categories. The transaction also enables Vifor Pharma to accelerate growth in cardiovascular-metabolic, renal and transplant. Centerview Partners UK LLP is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Vifor Pharma on the transaction. IFBC have been retained as Fairness Opinion providers by the Vifor Pharma Board of Directors. About Vifor Pharma Group Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange About CSL CSL is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL — including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus- provides life-saving products to more than 100 countries and employs more than 25,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Deargen Annonuces Patent Application for a TNBC Target Novel Drug Candidate Using AI

Deargen Inc. | December 23, 2021

Deargen, a company specializing in the development of novel NCE drugs using artificial intelligence, announced on the 22rd that it had discovered and synthesized a new anticancer target compound using its own AI platform and had already applied for a patent for it. Deargen has the technology to predict candidates for a novel drug without the 3D structure data of proteins. Deargen's technology, which uses amino acid sequence data rather than the structure information of proteins, possesses global-level differentiated artificial intelligence technology that enables the rapid development of novel drugs even for proteins whose 3D structure has not yet been identified. "The new compound for which we have applied for a patent this time is a first-in-class candidate, and we plan to develop a therapeutic agent targeting triple-negative breast cancer. TNBC is an area where there are few novel drugs available and it is difficult to find innovative targets, so it is a disease with a high demand for new therapeutics…Deargen confirmed the efficacy of the new compound discovered through in-vitro experiments." An official from Deargen Also, the substance that Deargen discovered through this study is an NCE. An NCE refers to a new chemically synthesized drug, which requires a great deal of time and money because it is difficult to develop such a drug that has not been previously approved by the FDA. However, it is within an area with high needs by many global pharmaceutical companies as it has the advantage of being able to receive market monopoly rights for 5 years in the U.S. and 10 years in Europe after product approval. In particular, Deargen's achievements are significant in that it discovered the new compound in a shorter time than the existing novel drug discovery process through its collaboration of advanced AI and in-house experts for novel drug development. The target discovery and substance design process, which usually takes about 3 to 4 years in the existing traditional drug development process, was carried out in just 10 weeks, and it took merely 2 weeks for target discovery and 8 weeks for substance design and synthesis. Currently, Deargen is establishing a large-scale R&D center. With this R&D center, the plan is to further shorten the period of the discovery of candidates by efficiently managing the time required for designing and synthesizing substances. The R&D center will be in charge of fast verification of substances by conducting the design and synthesis verification of substances under joint research with Deargen's internal pipeline, along with the production of high-quality data. Daniel Bae, Chief Business Officer of Deargen said : "We plan to continuously derive new substances with patentability through our synthesis research center, which will be established in the first half of next year. We plan to not only build our own pipeline centered on anticancer drugs, but also to introduce various business models with our partners that go beyond the existing joint research contracts." He also said, "Deargen plans to establish its position among global AI drug developers as a company specializing in NCE drug development, from target discovery to compound design and synthesis." About Deargen Inc. Established in December 2016, Deargen is an AI-based drug discovery and development company. In February 2020, the company released study results on predicting the development of COVID-19 treatments. Candidate compounds for treating COVID-19 predicted by Deargen include remdesivir, which was first approved as an emergency therapy. The company conducts research on and owns core AI technologies in-silico, such as 'prediction of bio-markers', 'selection of disease targets', and 'extraction of candidate substances for new drugs', utilizing techniques of meta analysis of genome big data and its unique AI technologies. Building on these outcomes, the company is developing new drugs in collaboration with multiple pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, demonstrating its outstanding technology capabilities as being named as top awardees at the ILSVRC, a world-prominent deep-learning competition, and Dream Challenge, an international AI-based new drug development competition.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Agilent Announces the Innovative Seahorse XF Pro Analyzer

Agilent Technologies Inc. | January 25, 2022

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced the release of the Agilent Seahorse XF Pro Analyzer, featuring new pharma-oriented workflow solutions incorporating advanced experimental design and analysis tools. With enhanced performance, more robust and efficient workflows, and an optimized user experience, the XF Pro enables operators at any skill level to access the most advanced cellular metabolism analysis technology for understanding cellular fate, fitness, and function. Preclinical therapeutic discovery workflows place high demands on cellular analysis, with immunology and disease researchers increasingly using rare, ex vivo, and genetically engineered cells to build better disease models. To address the increasing interest in monitoring live cells in real-time, the new XF Pro Analyzer incorporates a suite of hardware and software enhancements that improve measurement performance and data interpretation. These enhancements will make it easier to identify novel drug targets, validate target effect on cellular function, optimize disease models, and determine drug safety and antitumor potential of T cell therapies. “With dedicated workflow solutions the XF Pro provides enhanced performance and customer experience, particularly within pharma and biopharma therapeutic development, and toxicity programs. This underlines Agilent’s commitment towards developing intentional end-to-end solution-focused innovations that continue to lead the way for applied analytical and research applications, including direct metabolic analysis.” Richard Fernandes, associate vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Cell Analysis, Seahorse, Luxcel, and microplates businesses "The launch of the XF Pro is very much a customer-driven event. Through collaboration and intentional conversations with our customers and key opinion leaders, we recognized the need for a live-cell metabolic analysis platform which makes sophisticated analysis even more accessible for both experienced users as well as novices,” added Chris Braun, associate vice president of Marketing for Agilent’s Cell Analysis Division. “Primarily targeting the pharma/biopharma sector, but beneficial to all our customers, the XF Pro incorporates critical metabolic insights into researchers’ discovery workflows to facilitate even higher quality data where it matters most.” The XF Pro Analyzer is expected to enhance critical aspects of live-cell analysis, particularly for researchers working in immunotherapy, early drug discovery, and preclinical safety assessment. By delivering better precision at a low oxygen consumption rate (OCR), the XF Pro Analyzer allows analysts to confidently interrogate more immune cell types, as well as cell types that are bioenergetically compromised. The instrument also features pharma-tailored workflows for harnessing robust cellular metabolism measurements while handling suspension cell types, along with simplified automation enablement and analytical instrument qualification (AIQ). About Agilent Technologies Agilent Technologies Inc. is a global leader in the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets, delivering insight and innovation that advance the quality of life. Agilent’s full range of solutions includes instruments, software, services, and expertise that provide trusted answers to our customers' most challenging questions. The company generated revenue of $6.32 billion in fiscal 2021 and employs 17,000 people worldwide.

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