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In an era when biopharma research in drug R&D continues to be costly and slow, and artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug discovery platforms are rapidly growing, Paris-based pharmaceutical leader Sanofi announced its latest massive AI drug discovery deal, this time with startup Insilico Medicine, worth up to $1.2 billion.
The research collaboration comes on the heels of several other high-value AI drug discovery partnership announcements from Sanofi, including with Atomwise in August; a partnership expansion with Exscientia last January; and an equity investment in Owkin a year ago.
In June, Sanofi’s global head of research platforms, Matt Truppo, said that the goal of these AI collaborations is to reduce drug development timelines by “a few years,” which in turn brings down costs.
Sanofi deal is focused on end-to-end AI platform
According to an Insilico press release, pharmaceutical companies are moving in one of two directions: “Either they are cutting their AI software projects and firing departments, or, like Sanofi, they are doubling down on innovative technology – partnering with leading biotechs to develop new therapeutics using AI.”
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The announcement said that the Sanofi deal is a multiyear, multi-target strategic research collaboration that leverages Insilico Medicine’s AI platform, Pharma.AI, to advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets.
Sanofi will pay Insilico Medicine a total of up to $21.5 million to benefit from Pharma.AI and access a team of interdisciplinary drug discovery scientists to identify, synthesize and advance high-quality lead therapeutic compounds up to development candidate stage. Additional payments could total more than $1.2 billion.
Sanofi says it is ‘committed’ to AI-enabled drug discovery
In a statement to VentureBeat, Dr. Frank Nestle, Sanofi global head of research and chief scientific officer, said that Sanofi is “committed to AI-enabled drug discovery.”
Insilico Medicine, he said, is one of the key leaders in the space. “By working closely togethe …