Frontier IP Group PLC (AIM:FIPP) portfolio company Exscientia has signed a US$70mln collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop anti-viral therapeutics against coronavirus and other pandemic viruses.
The four-year agreement will fund work into small molecule therapeutics with less susceptibility to variants and greater patient access than current approaches, Exscientia said in a statement.
Exscientia will use its technology platform and in-house expertise to discover and develop five phase 1-ready assets with the Gates Foundation to provide knowledge in antivirals and global public health
The collaboration will initially focus on developing broad-spectrum Coronavirus agents (e.g., SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, MERS), including accelerating Exscientia’s lead program, which targets the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency to develop safe and effective broad-spectrum drugs to expand our armoury against viruses and their variants, said Exscientia chief executive Andrew Hopkins.
“We believe that our AI-driven platform can accelerate the creation of better, more effective therapeutics that can address some of the world’s most critical and emerging health risks.”