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MD Anderson Partners With Exscientia to Develop Precision Oncology Drugs

NEW YORK – Artificial intelligence-focused technology company Exscientia and MD Anderson Cancer Center on Monday said they will apply their relative areas of expertise to developing small molecule oncology compounds.

Exscientia uses an AI-based personalized medicine platform to identify targets and design molecules for treatment. The Oxford, UK-based firm will work with researchers at MD Anderson's Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), the hospital's drug discovery and development division, to jointly identify therapeutic targets against cancer and use the AI platform to identify novel cell-intrinsic small-molecule compounds based on these targets.

"Artificial intelligence has opened up new possibilities in cancer research, enabling us to use deep learning multiomics within our precision medicine platform to test potential drug candidates in Exscientia's patient tissue models," said Exscientia CEO and Founder Andrew Hopkins in a statement. "Further, our platform holds the potential to stratify patients even in the early discovery stage, allowing us to efficiently design drug candidates that are most likely to be impactful for people with cancer."

Philip Jones, head of MD Anderson's IACS, added in a statement that through this collaboration the parties hope to "decrease the time we spend in drug development and accelerate novel targeted therapies into the clinic."

In January, Exscientia expanded a partnership with Sanofi to codevelop 15 small molecule therapeutic candidates in cancer and immunology. The firm also has oncology drug discovery collaborations with Bristol Myers Squibb, EQRx, and Huadong Medicine.