University of Dundee

Latest award highlights University’s spinout success

12 Nov 2021

A fundraising deal to develop the ground-breaking capabilities of a University of Dundee spinout has won a major international award.

The series D round that generated $225 million for the drug discovery firm Exscientia has been named as Global University Venturing’s Deal of the Year Award winner for 2021.

Announced in April, the funding round was launched to help the company further develop its pioneering work in Artificial Intelligence-led drug design. It followed on from a $100 million series C round held in March.

It is the latest success for the firm, which spun out from Dundee in 2012 and was founded by the School of Life Sciences’ Professor Andrew Hopkins. It was the first company to use Artificial Intelligence to automate drug design from idea to the pre-clinical candidate stage and its advanced AI has the ability to significantly speed up drug development, an expensive undertaking for pharmaceutical companies.

“This is a fantastic achievement and further international recognition of the University of Dundee as a nurturing environment for successful spinouts,” said Dr David McBeth, Dundee’s Director of Research & Innovation Services,

“World-leading research is taking place at the University every day, and commercialisation of this allows us to build companies that have the ability to change lives around the world. We are able to help spinouts by connecting them with funding networks and industry expertise, giving them the best chance of turning promising ideas into successful businesses.”

The University of Dundee is already recognised as one of the best universities in the UK for producing successful spinouts. A survey last month carried out by GovGrant named the University as the UK's sixth most successful at commercialising innovation, spawning 1.5% of the UK’s spinouts with these companies raising £325.7 million over the past two decades.

While Exscientia is the University’s most prevalent spinout to date, several other success stories continue to emerge.

Amphista Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company creating first-in-class therapeutics that help harness the body’s natural processes to selectively and efficiently degrade proteins that cause diseases previously thought to be ‘undruggable’.

Ten Bio, meanwhile, is a spinout venture founded by Dr Robyn Hickerson and Dr Michael Conneely that offers an alternative for many experiments currently only performed in animals.

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