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Partnership will add AI to DARPA-funded synthetic chemistry technology

Exscientia, a clinical-stage Artificial Intelligence (AI) drug-discovery company and SRI International (SRI), a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California announced today that the companies have entered into a drug-discovery collaboration agreement to implement a new approach to drug discovery by integrating AI design with automated compound synthesis.

Through the collaboration, the companies will combine SRI’s fully automated SynFini™ synthetic-chemistry system with Exscientia’s Centaur Chemist™ AI platform to expedite discovery of selective molecules for a high value oncology target. The SRI technology was developed as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Make-it program, which supports chemical innovation.

“Both the SynFini and Centaur Chemist platforms have demonstrated ability to overcome key drug discovery challenges,” said Nathan Collins, Ph.D., chief strategy officer of SRI’s Biosciences Division and head of the SynFini program. “We believe there is tremendous potential to further accelerate the oncology drug-discovery process by combining these novel and proven technologies.”

SRI’s end-to-end SynFini platform automates the design, reaction screening and optimization (RSO), and production of target molecules. It was developed to bring new drugs to the clinic more quickly and affordably by accelerating chemical discovery and development. The SynFini closed-loop system comprises three components that work seamlessly together: a software platform (SynRoute™), a reaction screening platform (SynJet™), and a multi-step flow chemistry automation and development platform (AutoSyn™).

Exscientia is the first company to successfully apply AI technologies to design small molecule compounds that have reached the clinic. Molecules generated by Exscientia’s Centaur ChemistTM platform are highly optimised to satisfy the multiple pharmacology criteria required to enter a compound into the clinic and to achieve these goals in a revolutionary time scale. Centaur Chemist transforms drug discovery into a formalized set of moves whilst also allowing the system to learn strategy from human experts.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia said, ”The opportunity to apply AI drug design through our Centaur Chemist system with SynFini automated chemistry offers an exciting opportunity to accelerate drug discovery timelines through scientific innovation and automation.”

Read more about the collaboration: https://www.sri.com/sri-international-and-exscientia-enter-collaboration...

Read more about the Make-It program: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-06-19

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