Exscientia partners with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. to research new medicines for psychiatric disorders.

Exscientia Ltd., the polypharmacology driven drug discovery company, announced today that they have signed an agreement with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., to collaborate on the discovery and optimisation of novel medicines for psychiatric disorders.

As part of the new strategic alliance, worth $4.8 million (USD), ex scientia received an upfront payment of $1 million (USD). Under the terms of the agreement, Sunovion will receive exclusive worldwide rights to the resulting compounds whereas ex scientia retains exclusive rights to its technology.

The collaborative research will focus on developing novel approaches to compound design by analysing data arising from phenotypic drug discovery. Improvements in phenotypic screening are opening new ways to deliver improved medicines. This collaboration between Sunovion and ex scientia combines the power of advanced, large-scale phenotypic screening with ex scientia's technology for the rational design of polypharmacology drugs. The intention of this combined approach is to deliver drug candidates to the clinic. This collaboration builds upon ex scientia's delivery of novel ‘bispecific’ compounds that combine activities at the GPCR and ion channel target families.

Dr. Thomas Large, Senior Vice President of Discovery and Preclinical Research at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. said “We are extremely pleased to form a strategic alliance with ex scientia to create an innovative approach to tackling complex psychiatric diseases, by integrating polypharmacology with behavioural insights from phenotypic data. This partnership underscores Sunovion’s commitment to developing a robust pipeline to treat unmet medical needs in patients.”

Prof. Andrew Hopkins, Founder and CEO of ex scientia Ltd. said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Sunovion on this exciting approach to discovering new treatments for complex psychiatric diseases. This partnership establishes our design platform as a method of choice for data-driven phenotypic drug discovery. The agreement shows the power of applying a polypharmacology philosophy to challenging disease areas and our commitment to building strategic partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies to deliver novel medicines.”