Evotec becomes the first strategic shareholder in Exscientia

Evotec becomes the first strategic shareholder in Exscientia

Evotec AG and Exscientia Ltd have announced that Evotec has made a €15m investment to take a minority stake in Exscientia.

This investment sees Evotec become the first strategic shareholder in the Dundee-based company.

Exscientia is focused on Artificial Intelligence-driven drug discovery and design, and Evotec has one of the largest  drug discovery platforms in the industry, employing more than 1,800 scientists.

The companies have worked together since early 2016 to advance small molecules and bispecific small molecules in immuno-oncology, and the success of the partnership was the basis of this corporate relationship.

Exscientia develops and applies AI approaches specifically to design new and better therapeutic molecules in a faster and more cost-effective manner. This latest investment will enable it to drive higher value partner programmes and expand discovery on its automated design platform.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, said: “Our investment in Exscientia represents Evotec’s single biggest equity placement to date and in, what we feel, is the world leading AI technology company. Working with Exscientia on a joint immuno-oncology project over the past year, we have experienced first-hand how its AI approaches, along with our medicinal chemistry platform, can positively and radically impact drug discovery.

“We are very excited about the joint potential to leverage AI in chemistry. This investment is also the first time that we can efficiently use our recently awarded €75m loan facility from the European Investment Bank to bring down cost of capital for such an investment.”

Commenting on the investment, Prof. Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, added: “Exscientia and Evotec have built a close relationship over the past year sharing mutual interest in agile innovation. We are delighted that Evotec has made this investment for a minority equity stake, allowing Exscientia to deliver more drug discovery projects in a rapid and capital efficient manner.

“I’m also delighted that Dr Mario Polywka, chief operating officer of Evotec, will join Exscientia’s board of directors, allowing us to benefit from his strong operational expertise in growing successful biotech companies.”