Exscientia CEO fired for cause

Feb. 13, 2024

Exscientia's board of directors has decided to immediately terminate the employment of founder Andrew Hopkins as the company’s CEO and principal executive officer, following an investigation into relationships with two employees that the board found "inappropriate." 

The AI-driven precision medicine company disclosed the issue in an SEC filing and brief press release, noting that Hopkins’ personal conduct did not impact Exscientia's operational or financial performance. Dave Hallett, Exscientia's chief science officer, will step in as CEO until a successor can be found.

Exscientia's board had brought in outside counsel to investigate Hopkins’ conduct. During the investigation, the board learned that David Nicholson, chairman of the board, had prior knowledge of Hopkins’ relationships and had not disclosed this to board. As a result, Nicholson has resigned.

The England-based company has several tie ups with pharma companies looking to use its proprietary AI-driven drug discovery platform. Back in December, Sanofi expanded a potential $5.2 billion deal originally inked in 2022, focused on using Exscientia's AI-based capabilities to develop novel small molecule candidates across oncology and immunology. Exscientia has also signed deals with Merck KGaA, BMS, GSK, Novo Holdings and Bayer.