Multi-million Pound Payday Could be on the Horizon for Exscientia Management
If Dundee University spin-off Exscientia decides to float the company’s management are set to enjoy a massive payday.
If the Exscientia flotation proceeds, Professor Andrew Hopkins could be in line for a huge payday. The Artificial Intelligence spin-off is reportedly contemplating an initial public offering and will be ready to float by May 2020.
Founded by academic and former Pfizer executive Andrew Hopkins in 2012, the company, which has grown to become one of the UK’s top biotech firms, specialises in using AI to automate drug design, reduce the time it takes to identify pre-clinical drug candidates and accelerate new opportunities for treatment.
Recently, the company has fended off approaches from major pharmaceutical companies looking to take over the business. It is believed the company is still considering its options and has yet to decide which stock exchange it would list on.
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According to analyst Ian Jermin of Allenby Capital, which acts as a broker for Exscientia shareholder Frontier IP, the company could be worth as much as £1 billion in a float. Jermin noted that the company’s similarly sized rival, BenevolentAI was valued at $2.1 billion (£1.6bn).
During a 2018 funding round Exscientia was valued at £100 million. However, several major deals, including entering into a £50 million drug collaboration with Roche, have seen the firm’s estimated value sore.
It also entered multi-million pound deals with Evotec, Sanofi and GSK, and could see its value soar even higher with additional royalty payments.
Jermin said: “Together these collaborations offer the potential for Exscientia to earn at least circa £320 million in upfront and in some cases milestone payments but do not include future royalties on any successful products resulting from the collaborations”.
If the company goes ahead with the float, the firm’s management are likely to benefit massively as they are thought to own roughly 50% of the shares in the business. Hopkins in particular stands to reap a huge windfall as he is believed to own around 43% of the shares, however, the company has not yet released documents relating to its latest funding round.
Commenting on the speculation, Hopkins said there had been an “absolute sea-change in interest from the pharmaceutical industry, helped in part by the fact that there are now real-life examples of advances being made by artificial intelligence”.
Continuing, he said it had “gone from being a promise of what AI can do to accepted mainstream that this will be the way drugs are discovered in future”.