SRI International and Exscientia Enter Collaboration to Accelerate Drug Discovery Through Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Companies will combine SynFini and Centaur Chemist platforms to focus on small-molecule oncology target

MENLO PARK, Calif. and OXFORD, England, May 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Exscientia, a clinical-stage Artificial Intelligence (AI) drug-discovery company and SRI International (SRI), a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California announced today that the companies have entered into a drug-discovery collaboration agreement to implement a new approach to drug discovery by integrating AI design with automated compound synthesis. Through the collaboration, the companies will combine SRI’s fully automated SynFini™ synthetic-chemistry system with Exscientia’s Centaur Chemist™ AI platform to expedite discovery of selective molecules for a high value oncology target. 

“Both the SynFini and Centaur Chemist platforms have demonstrated ability to overcome key drug discovery challenges,” said Nathan Collins, Ph.D., chief strategy officer of SRI’s Biosciences Division and head of the SynFini program. “We believe there is tremendous potential to further accelerate the oncology drug-discovery process by combining these novel and proven technologies.”

SRI’s end-to-end SynFini platform automates the design, reaction screening and optimization (RSO), and production of target molecules. It was developed to bring new drugs to the clinic more quickly and affordably by accelerating chemical discovery and development. The SynFini closed-loop system comprises three components that work seamlessly together: a software platform (SynRoute™), a reaction screening platform (SynJet™), and a multi-step flow chemistry automation and development platform (AutoSyn™).

Exscientia is the first company to successfully apply AI technologies to design small molecule compounds that have reached the clinic. Molecules generated by Exscientia’s Centaur ChemistTM platform are highly optimised to satisfy the multiple pharmacology criteria required to enter a compound into the clinic and to achieve these goals in a revolutionary time scale. Centaur Chemist transforms drug discovery into a formalized set of moves whilst also allowing the system to learn strategy from human experts.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia said, ”The opportunity to apply AI drug design through our Centaur Chemist system with SynFini  automated chemistry offers an exciting opportunity to accelerate drug discovery timelines through scientific innovation and automation.”


About SRI International

SRI International, a non-profit research institute founded in 1946 and headquartered in Menlo Park, California, creates world-changing solutions to make people safer, healthier, and more productive. SRI Biosciences, a division of SRI International, integrates basic biomedical research with drug and diagnostics discovery, and preclinical and clinical development. SRI Biosciences has produced several marketed drugs and advanced more than 100 drugs to clinical trials. The division is focused on novel platforms and programs in a variety of therapeutic areas targeting high unmet medical needs. SRI Biosciences collaborates with a broad range of partners from small and virtual biotechnology companies to top 10 pharmaceutical companies and other leading industry partners. More information is available at

About Exscientia

Exscientia is a global Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company and the first to have novel chemical molecules being assessed in a clinical setting.  Fusing the power of the original AI-design with the experience of seasoned drug hunters, Exscientia’s Centaur Chemist™ platform enables the discovery of exquisitely optimised molecules with breakthrough productivity. In tandem, Exscientia’s Centaur Biologist™ platform drives the flexible analysis and prioritisation of discovery targets across all pharmaceutically relevant disease space.  For more information visit us on or follow us on Twitter @exscientialtd.


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