Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced the most advanced asset arising from their joint venture with Exscientia has entered human clinical trials. The A2a receptor antagonist, which is in development for adult patients with advanced solid tumours, was co-invented and developed between Exscientia and Evotec, including application of Exscientia’s next generation 3-D evolutionary AI-design platform, Centaur Chemist®. The drug candidate has potential for best-in-class characteristics, with high selectivity for the target receptor, bringing together potential benefits of reduced systemic side effects as well as minimal brain exposure to avoid potential undesired centrally-mediated side effects.
Tumour cells produce high levels of adenosine, a molecule that helps them escape immune system detection by binding to the A2a receptor on cancer-fighting T-cells, reducing T-cell ability to eliminate disease. Therefore, this highly selective A2a receptor antagonist is being investigated for its ability to prevent adenosine from binding to the T-cell receptor and potentially promote anti-tumour T-cell activity.
Dr Craig Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: “We highly value our ongoing partnership with Exscientia, which has been highly collaborative and productive in every respect. We are therefore delighted to announce the start of clinical development of our co-owned A2a antagonist with Exscientia in the hope that the fruits of our collaboration can bring potential benefits to patients in the future.”
Prof. Andrew Hopkins, CEO and founder of Exscientia, said: “We set ambitious therapeutic objectives for this project, especially high selectivity for the A2a receptor and central nervous system (CNS) sparing properties, in order to reduce the likelihood of potential side effects. Even with these challenging objectives, we were able to discover our candidate molecule within 8 months of project initiation.”
Exscientia will lead further clinical development of the molecule and Evotec will retain co-ownership rights throughout clinical development.
Exscientia is an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven pharmatech committed to discovering and designing the best possible medicines in the fastest and most effective manner. Exscientia is the first company to progress AI-designed small molecules into the clinical setting and repeatedly demonstrate the ability of AI to transform the how drugs are created. Drug design is precision engineering at the molecular scale. Exscientia has built dedicated AI systems that efficiently learn from the widest range of data and consistently reapply enhanced knowledge through iterations of design. Because Exscientia’s AI platform learns more effectively and rapidly than human-led efforts alone, candidate molecules satisfying complex therapeutic requirements are created with revolutionary efficiency. Exscientia believes that designing better drugs, faster, will allow the best ideas of science to rapidly become the best medicines for patients. For more information visit us on www.exscientia.ai or follow us on Twitter @exscientiaAI.
Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.