Atomwise CEO and co-founder Abraham Heifets (left) and co-founder Izhar Wallach

A cou­ple bil­lion for Ex­sci­en­tia was on­ly part of Sanofi's AI am­bi­tions, as the Big Phar­ma adds Atom­wise to the ta­ble

Sanofi made clear its AI am­bi­tions were re­al at the be­gin­ning of this year when the Big Phar­ma took its drug dis­cov­ery col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ex­sci­en­tia to the next lev­el, ink­ing a pact that could birth 15 drugs and de­liv­er $5.3 bil­lion to the UK part­ner.

Sev­en months lat­er, the AI blue­print is far from over at the French Big Phar­ma, as an­oth­er of the much-hyped drug dis­cov­ery star­tups is com­ing to the ta­ble in a five-drug deal. Sanofi will pay Atom­wise $20 mil­lion to kick off the hunt for up to five tar­gets, which are aimed at lead­ing to the cre­ation of new small mol­e­cules. An­oth­er $1 bil­lion is on the line — as are roy­al­ties — and the com­pa­nies kept mum on the spe­cif­ic dis­eases or broad­er ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas of in­ter­est.

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