AstraZeneca partners with Absci on AI-driven oncology asset

Dec. 4, 2023

AstraZeneca has inked a deal with generative AI specialist Absci to deliver an AI-designed antibody against an oncology target. 

The collaboration will combine Absci's proprietary Integrated Drug Creation platform with AstraZeneca's expertise in oncology with the goal of accelerating the discovery of a potential new cancer treatment candidate.

Washington state-based Absci accelerates drug discovery by completing the cycle of data collection, AI-driven design and wet-lab validation within an estimated six weeks. The company aims to enhance the likelihood of successful development outcomes for biologic drug candidates by optimizing multiple drug attributes concurrently and expanding the universe of drug targets to include those previously deemed 'undruggable' such as GPCRs and ion channels

The agreement with AstraZeneca, which the Financial Times reported was worth $247 million, includes an upfront commitment, R&D funding and milestone payments, in addition to royalties on product sales.

The deal comes amid a wave of AI-based drug discovery deals. Last week, Toronto-based Phenomic AI inked back-to-back deals with Astellas and Boehringer Ingelheim which leverage Phenomic’s expertise in target identification and stromal biology based on its proprietary scTx single-cell transcriptomics platform. Just prior to that, Boehringer signed a deal with IBM that gives the German drugmaker access to an IBM-developed, pre-trained AI model with the end goal of making the vision of in silico biologic drug discovery a reality.

Earlier this month, Genentech entered into a generative AI collaboration for drug discovery with U.S. semiconductor giant NVIDIA. The collaboration will involve utilizing NVIDIA DGX Cloud, an AI supercomputing platform, to accelerate Genentech’s drug discovery models.