Following through with its pledge to go "all in" on AI, Sanofi has signed a multi-year research collaboration with Paris-based startup, Aqemia.
The deal, which aims to discover small molecule drug candidates across several therapeutic areas, will leverage Aqemia's technology platform that combines deep physics with generative AI at scale to identify the right chemical molecules for therapeutic targets of interest to Sanofi.
According to Aqemia, unlike other AI-driven platform technologies that require chemical experimental data to train on before starting the design phase, Aqemia will generate this data in-house by performing highly efficient physics-based calculations at scale right from the beginning of each research project.
As part of the agreement, Sanofi will hand Aqemia up to $140 million based on an upfront payment and the successful completion of R&D milestones on a number of specific therapeutic targets.
Sanofi has pledged to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence, announcing back in June that was launching an AI app developed in collaboration with AI platform company Aily Labs. Then, in October, the French drugmaker struck a potential $1 billion deal with California-based BioMap to to co-develop AI modules for biotherapeutic drug discovery.
As the year comes to a close, pharma's AI dealmaking has been on the rise. Earlier this week, AstraZeneca signed a $247 million deal with generative AI specialist Absci to deliver an AI-designed antibody against an oncology target. 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.
Back in June
French drugmaker Sanofi has pledged to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence, announcing this week that it is "all in," launching an AI app called plai.