Exscientia Announces First-in-Human Study for Bristol Myers Squibb In-Licensed PKC Theta Inhibitor, EXS4318
OXFORD, UK–(BUSINESS WIRE). The compound is in development for immunology and inflammatory (I&I) indications. Bristol Myers Squibb will oversee clinical and commercial development and Exscientia is eligible for milestone payments and, if approved, tiered royalties on net product sales.
“We are pleased that Bristol Myers Squibb is beginning clinical testing of ‘4318, the first Exscientia I&I candidate to enter the clinic. PKC-theta is an attractive immunomodulatory drug target; however, it has been a challenge for the field to develop a small molecule with the required potency and selectivity over other closely related kinases,” said David Hallett, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Exscientia. “Our expert-led AI design platform was able to deliver a balanced candidate that has demonstrated high targeted activity while maintaining high selectivity and a favorable therapeutic index in IND-enabling studies.This is a significant milestone for Exscientia, demonstrating the power and flexibility of our precision design platform in the efficient development of high-quality therapeutics.”
Experts searching for drugs using the company’s AI platform for generative design identified EXS4318 within 11 months of design initiation and was the 150thth novel compound synthesized in this program. The target product profile was particularly challenging due to the need for sustained, high target inhibition to enhance efficacy, as well as the requirement for a low daily dose in humans. PKC theta is structurally similar to several related kinases, making it difficult to achieve the high selectivity required to avoid off-target effects.
PKC theta, formerly known as Kinase X by Exscientia, was one of the first small molecule programs to form part of the original 2019 collaboration between Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene. In May 2021, Bristol Myers Squibb and Exscientia expanded I&I and oncology collaboration, with increased economics for Exscientia. EXS4318 is the fourth drug candidate invented by Exscientia to enter the clinic.
About PKC theta
PKC theta plays a critical role in controlling T cell function and is a major driver of several common autoimmune diseases. PKC-theta inhibitors have potential in inflammatory and immunological diseases.
Exscientia is an AI-driven pharmatech company dedicated to discovering, designing and developing the best possible medicines in the fastest and most effective way. Exscientia has developed the first-ever precision functional oncology platform to successfully guide treatment choice and improve patient outcomes in a prospective interventional clinical trial and bring AI-engineered small molecules to the clinical setting. Our internal pipeline is focused on leveraging our precision medicine platform in oncology, while our partnered pipeline is expanding our approach into other therapeutic areas. We believe that by pioneering a new approach to drug manufacturing, the best ideas in science can quickly become the best medicines for patients.
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No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties affecting Bristol Myers Squibb’s business and market, particularly those discussed in the cautionary statements and discussion of risk factors in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Annual Report on Form 10- K are listed for the year ended December 31, 2021, updated by our subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this document speak only as of the date of this document and, except as otherwise required by applicable law, Bristol Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes circumstances or otherwise.