Exscientia receives grant from Open Philanthropy to explore a new therapeutic approach for pandemic influenza

Exscientia plc (Nasdaq: EXAI) today announced that it has received a $2.3 million grant from Open Philanthropy, a multi-program philanthropic funder in the field of global health and well-being. Under this grant, Exscientia intends to use activation of the host response to interferon as a therapeutic approach for pandemic influenza.

This grant is part of the broader Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) initiative. Based on experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Philanthropy launched the PAD initiative in collaboration with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the discovery and early development of new medicines antivirals in anticipation of future pandemics.

“We are delighted to have these expert institutions supporting Exscientia’s capabilities to develop innovative solutions to important unsolved health problems.” This undoubtedly translates into this grant,” said Professor Ian Goodfellow, vice president of antivirals at Exscientia. “If we can activate the interferon response in a controlled way using small molecules, we could change the way influenza is treated and prevented in the future, which is essential for effective influenza preparedness. pandemic “.

The research funded by this grant will allow Exscientia to further explore the conditions necessary to activate key aspects of the response to interferon with known antiviral activity against influenza and COVID-19. The interferon response is an essential part of the body’s natural ability to control influenza virus infection. Its activation leads to the production of soluble proteins that bind to the surface of epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract and activate an antiviral state that suppresses further virus replication.

This priority is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to pandemic prevention, which was launched in 2021 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the long term, the research funded by this grant and the resulting chemical matches may have the potential to be used to develop effective and specific low molecular weight drug candidates through the use of the Driven Drug Discovery Platform. by the Exscientia AI. These may be able to activate the interferon response in selected tissues or cells relevant to influenza virus infection, including future variants and other viruses.

“We are excited to help fund new approaches to improving resistance to infectious diseases,” said Heather Youngs, senior program officer for scientific research at Open Philanthropy. “The world needs diverse, ready-to-use options to meet overall global health needs and prevent future pandemics and all their terrible consequences.

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