Exscientia announced a strategic research collaboration, and license option agreement with Sanofi in metabolic disease.
Delivery of new therapies for metabolic disease (such as diabetes) is hampered by a lack of single targets that are amenable to drug discovery. Exscientia will apply its platform to identify and validate combinations of drug targets that could work synergistically and be amenable to Exscientia's bispecific-small-molecule design strategy - where a small molecule is designed to be compatible with two distinct drug targets.
Exscientia will triage opportunities and prioritize those with promising bispecific binding potential. Target pairs fulfilling these initial tractability criteria will pass through to Exscientia's platform in order to generate bispecific-small-molecule compounds that can further validate the biological hypothesis. Bispecific small molecules passing all these quality gates may progress to full candidate delivery projects for Sanofi.
As part of this agreement, Exscientia will be responsible for all compound design, while chemistry synthesis will be delivered by Sanofi. Further assays, preclinical experiments and subsequent trials for compounds progressing to the clinic will be managed by Sanofi, where Sanofi exercises the license option.
The commercial terms for this agreement include the payment of research funding in order to identify those target pairs with the best combination of chemical compatibility and strong biological relevance plus further funding for prioritized candidate delivery opportunities. For compounds reaching agreed delivery criteria, a series of milestones covering both non-clinical and clinical may be payable by Sanofi. Any licensed products reaching the market will qualify for recurrent sales milestones. The total amount potentially payable by Sanofi to Exscientia on achieving these milestones is EUR250 million.
"We are delighted that Sanofi is engaging with Exscientia in a comprehensive, end-to-end drug discovery project,” Andrew Hopkins, CEO, Exscientia said. “This agreement highlights Exscientia's ability to apply bispecific drug design in a comprehensive and highly productive manner. Sanofi has put together an excellent experimental backbone for this collaboration and we look forward to delivering high-value projects for the company."