OXFORD, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Exscientia plc (Nasdaq: EXAI) today announced that EXS4318 ('4318) a compound precision designed by Exscientia and in-licensed by Bristol Myers Squibb in August 2021, has entered Phase 1 clinical trials in the United States. The compound is in development for immunology & inflammation (I&I) indications. Bristol Myers Squibb will oversee the clinical and commercial development and Exscientia is eligible for milestone payments and, if approved, tiered royalties on net product sales.
"We are excited for Bristol Myers Squibb to begin clinical evaluation of '4318, the first Exscientia I&I candidate to enter the clinic. PKC theta is an attractive immune modulating drug target; however, it has been challenging for the field to design a small molecule with the required potency as well as selectivity against other closely related kinases," said David Hallett, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Exscientia. "Our expert-led AI design platform was able to deliver a balanced candidate which has demonstrated high on-target activity while maintaining high selectivity and favourable therapeutic index in IND-enabling studies. This is a significant milestone for Exscientia that illustrates the strength and flexibility of our precision design platform in efficiently developing high quality therapeutics.”
Expert drug hunters using the Company’s AI generative design platform identified EXS4318 within 11 months after initiating design and was the 150th novel compound synthesised in this programme. The target product profile was particularly challenging due to the need for sustained, high levels of target inhibition to drive efficacy as well as the requirement for low daily dose in humans. PKC theta is structurally similar to several related kinases making it difficult to achieve the high levels of selectivity required to avoid off-target effects.
PKC theta, previously referred to as Kinase X by Exscientia, was one of the first small molecule programmes that formed part of the original Bristol Myers Squibb collaboration signed with Celgene in 2019. In May 2021, Bristol Myers Squibb and Exscientia expanded the collaboration in I&I and oncology, with increased economics for Exscientia. EXS4318 is the fourth drug candidate invented by Exscientia to enter the clinic.
About PKC theta
PKC theta plays a critical role in controlling T cell function and is a key driver of several highly prevalent autoimmune diseases. PKC theta inhibitors have potential in inflammatory and immunologic diseases.
Exscientia is an AI-driven pharmatech company committed to discovering, designing and developing the best possible drugs in the fastest and most effective manner. Exscientia developed the first-ever functional precision oncology platform to successfully guide treatment selection and improve patient outcomes in a prospective interventional clinical study, as well as to progress AI-designed small molecules into the clinical setting. Our internal pipeline is focused on leveraging our precision medicine platform in oncology, while our partnered pipeline broadens our approach to other therapeutic areas. By pioneering a new approach to medicine creation, we believe the best ideas of science can rapidly become the best medicines for patients.
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Exscientia Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including with respect to the progress of discovery and development of candidate molecules, and the timing and progress of, and data reported from, clinical trials of Exscientia’s product candidates. Any statement describing Exscientia’s goals, plans, expectations, projections, intentions or beliefs is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement. Such statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those related to: the initiation, scope and progress of Exscientia’s and its partners’ planned and ongoing pre-clinical studies and clinical trials and ramifications for the cost thereof; clinical, scientific, regulatory and technical developments; the process of discovering, developing and commercialising product candidates that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics; and the endeavour of building a business around such product candidates. In light of these risks and uncertainties, and other risks and uncertainties that are described in the Risk Factors section and other sections of Exscientia’s Annual Report on Form 20-F, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 23, 2022 (File No. 001-40850), and other filings that Exscientia makes with the SEC from time to time (which are available at https://www.sec.gov/), the events and circumstances discussed in such forward-looking statements may not occur, and Exscientia’s actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied thereby. Although Exscientia’s forward-looking statements reflect the good faith judgement of its management, these statements are based only on facts and factors currently known by the Company. As a result, you are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements.
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No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect Bristol Myers Squibb’s business and market, particularly those identified in the cautionary statement and risk factors discussion in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and except as otherwise required by applicable law, Bristol Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.