Startup of the Week: Exscientia

  • Exscientia was founded in 2012 by Andrew Hopkins.
  • The Oxford-based startup is the first company automating drug design.
  • So far, the company have raised $374.4 million.


Pioneers in automating drug discovery, our Startup of the Week for this week is Exscientia.

Exscientia is on a mission to make design medicines more rapidly and more efficiently than ever before, utilising patient-first artificial intelligence (AI) to help improve the way drug discovery happens.

The company was founded in 2012 by Andrew Hopkins in Oxford, and is a leading figure in the development of pharmatech. Exscientia is not only the first company to have automated drug design, but is also the first to enter clinical trials with an AI-Designed molecule.



Exscientia’s focus is to implement AI design and precision data generation, maximising the power of integrated AI and machine learning systems. Through their technology, the startup work to accelerate the stage of pre-clinical drug discovery significantly, and deliver new treatments to patients around the world.

Last year, Exscientia became a part of the UK’s search in cures for COVID-19, teaming up with Calibr and Diamond Light Source. Through this, the startup worked towards screening each and every drug – pre-clinical and approved – to use in tackling COVID-19.

Senior Portfolio Manager at Exscientia Dr. Denise Barrault commented the following on the matter: “The danger of new emerging strains and mutations of coronavirus means there is an urgent need for new antiviral drugs in this pandemic alongside vaccines, to respond more quickly in potential future coronavirus pandemics. We believe that the world needs innovation to accelerate the discovery of more effective counter-measures for a range of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.” 

So far, the company have raised $374.4 million over the course of 8 funding rounds, their latest announced in July 2021, which raised $1.5 million – its lead investors being the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.