First AI-designed Immuno-Oncology drug to enter clinical trials

First AI-designed Immuno-oncology drug to enter clinical trials

Discovered within 8 months of project initiation, the first AI-designed molecule for Immuno-Oncology is to enter human clinical trials.

The A2a receptor antagonist, which is in development for adult patients with advanced solid tumours, was co-invented and developed through a Joint Venture between Exscientia and Evotec, including application of Exscientia’s next generation 3-D evolutionary AI-design platform as part of Centaur Chemist®.

Exscientia’s AI-designed 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. The drug candidate has potential for best-in-class characteristics, with high selectivity for the target receptor, bringing together potential benefits of reduced systemic sides effects as well as minimal brain exposure to avoid undesired psychological side effects.

The company’s AI technologies are now responsible for the first two AI-designed drugs to enter Phase I testing, following on from Exscientia’s previous announcement in 2020 for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia said, “Immuno-oncology medicines are bringing benefit to a range of cancer patients. Our selective A2a receptor antagonist addresses a next-generation immuno-oncology strategy to empower the human immune system by reversing the effects of high adenosine concentrations. 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 systemic side effects. Even with these challenging objectives, we were able to discover our candidate molecule within 8 months of project initiation.”