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A&O advises Exscientia on its AI-driven drug discovery collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb

Allen & Overy has advised Exscientia on its USD 1.2 billion multi-target, AI-driven drug discovery collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).  

The collaboration will use AI to accelerate the discovery of small molecule therapeutic drug candidates in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology and immunology.

The collaboration will begin by working on three small molecules to treat cancer and immunological disorders, but the collaboration is open to any therapeutic area and there is a comprehensive process in place for reserving, adding and replacing targets.  The initial research term will be four years.

Exscientia is responsible for the AI-design and experimental work necessary to discover drug candidates associated with this collaboration for BMS.  Molecules will be designed using Exscientia’s AI-driven drug discovery platform, which delivers optimized compounds fulfilling complex design goals faster and more effectively than traditional drug discovery.  

The collaboration agreement includes up to USD 50 million in upfront funding, up to USD 125 million in near to mid-term potential milestones, and additional clinical, regulatory and commercial payments that take the potential value of the deal beyond USD 1.2 billion. Exscientia will also receive tiered royalties on net sales of any marketed drug products resulting from the collaboration.

The A&O team was led by London partner Jim Ford, assisted by London senior associate Alex Shandro and associate Megan McMellon.