Sanofi Forms Potential $5.2 Billion AI Deal with Exscientia

Sanofi Forms Potential $5.2 Billion AI Deal with Exscientia


Sanofi formed a deal to develop 15 experimental oncology and immunology drugs with Exscientia Plc with possible total payouts of as much as $5.2 billion, allying with a company that uses artificial intelligence to make new medicines.

The Oxford, England-based company will receive $100 million upfront, as well as milestone payments and royalties from successful treatments, the companies said Friday.

This is the latest attempt by Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson to rejuvenate the French drugmaker’s development pipeline. Last month, Sanofi agreed to buy privately held Amunix Pharmaceuticals Inc. for as much as $1.2 billion to add promising cancer medicines. Sanofi also bought messenger-RNA development partner Translate Bio Inc. for $3.2 billion and US biotech Kadmon Holdings Inc. for $1.9 billion last year.

Sanofi has been working with Exscientia since 2016. In 2019, Sanofi licensed a drug candidate from the company designed to treat inflammation.

Founded in 2012, Exscientia considers itself a “pharmatech” company that uses AI and machine learning to speed up the development of “small molecule” drugs. Such medicines, often known as targeted therapies, can interfere with specific molecules inside cells and thus block the growth and spread of cancer. They differ from biologic agents, which include antibody therapies and vaccines.