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- Partnerships with BenevolentAI and Exscientia to drive accelerated drug discovery with higher probability of success
- Access to end-to-end AI platform capabilities to generate novel development candidates in oncology, neurology and immunology
- AI-powered R&D integral part of delivering on ambition of bringing more medicines to more patients, faster
Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced two new strategic drug discovery collaborations aimed at harnessing powerful artificial intelligence (AI)-driven design and discovery capabilities, further advancing the company’s research efforts. The partnerships, with BenevolentAI, London, U.K., and Exscientia, Oxford, U.K., are expected to generate several novel clinical development drug candidates with first-in-class and best-in-class potential in key therapeutic areas of oncology, neurology and immunology.
“With the convergence of science, data, and AI, we’re determined to fast-track the development of new and truly innovative candidates, forging a path to previously unimaginable medical breakthroughs,” said Danny Bar-Zohar, Global Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer for the Healthcare business sector of Merck. “The partnerships with industry-leading AI technology firms BenevolentAI and Exscientia will complement our internal research capabilities and expertise, aligning with our broader strategy to enhance R&D productivity and the output of our pipeline in a sustainable manner.”
Under the terms of the agreements, three potential first-in-class and best-in-class targets have been selected to initiate each partnership with the possibility of identifying and nominating additional targets in the future. The collaborative efforts are focused on advancing small molecule development candidates which Merck will select for further pre-clinical and clinical development. Both partners will each receive low double digit million US dollar upfront payments and will be eligible for discovery, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and tiered royalties based on net sales.
Merck systematically explores data science and AI approaches to accelerate the discovery and delivery of breakthrough medicines. Integrating AI across R&D processes from identifying targets to clinical trials and product lifecycle management, is aimed at transforming drug discovery and development, bringing new medicines to patients faster and with higher probability of success. As the field evolves Merck will continue to deepen its existing AI and advanced analytics expertise while expanding partnerships and collaborations, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of innovation.
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