Exscientia expands AI-powered drug discovery in Miami
By Riley Kaminer
In the future, all drugs will be discovered using artificial intelligence. And the future is now. That’s UK-based Exscientia’s claim. Now the firm has doubled down on its Miami footprint to develop new drugs and proprietary drug-discovery technology right in the Magic City.
Co-founder Adrian Schreyer is Exscientia’s VP of AI Technology. He sees the company’s growth in Miami as an exciting new chapter for the rapidly-scaling company.
“I moved to Miami in 2016 and never looked back,” he said. Family was what initially drew Schreyer to South Florida. But once he was here, Schreyer realized all the benefits that Miami had to offer.
Top of the list: diversity. “People talk about cities being diverse, but Miami is truly diverse,” he said.
He also noted that the local culture was a major advantage. “In Miami, people are really free and open. They just don’t shy away from expressing themselves – they just do what they believe in. And that’s exactly the attitude and the culture that we want to create at Exscientia.”
Since Exscientia opened their Wynwood office last year, the company has recruited 15 people. Schreyer reported that he had no problem attracting top tech talent to Miami from places like New York and Chicago – and even as far afield as Europe and Asia. He said he was also able to lure a few native Miamians back home after long stints in other parts of the U.S.
While this local team is just a sliver of Exscientia’s 450 overall employees globally, it’s an important group. The Miami-based employees work directly on Exscientia’s computational drug design initiatives, combining quantum mechanics and molecular dynamics with AI to discover drugs more efficiently and effectively than traditional methods.
The need is quite clear. Last year, the FDA approved 50 new medicines – but there are still thousands of diseases with an unmet medical need. 96% of drug discovery and development fails, meaning that the average cost of developing a new medicine sits at around $2.6 billion: a 140% increase in the past ten years.
Exscientia, whose name means “from knowledge,” is on a mission to totally revamp this model using AI. They are using AI along the entire length of the pharmaceutical process, to discover new targets, and to design and develop new drugs through novel AI-driven clinical trials. The company, which was founded a decade ago, was the first AI pharma company to design drugs that entered clinical trials. As BCG notes, AI is upending the drug discovery market – with new entrants like Exscientia presenting a fundamental threat to legacy pharma companies.
But Exscientia is the first AI pharma company to establish a base in Miami. Now that the company has planted the pharma flag in South Florida, Schreyer hopes to take a more active role in our local tech ecosystem. “We’re not a known name here yet, but I hope to change that in the next six months,” he asserted.
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