Evotec forms Oxford initiative to spawn AI-enabled startups

LAB10x is the latest in a series of similar initiatives involving Evotec. (Evotec)

Evotec has formed a pact to help the University of Oxford’s data-driven drug discovery projects move out of academia. Working with clinical artificial intelligence company Sensyne Health, Evotec will support researchers at the university as they generate data to show the commercial viability of their projects.

The collaboration, dubbed LAB10x, is a different spin on the alliance Evotec entered into with the university and affiliated organizations to bridge the gap between academic research and industry in 2016. This time around, the goal is to leverage Oxford’s position at the forefront of academic research into medical, engineering and computer science to spawn AI-enabled startups.

Through LAB10x, tech transfer group Oxford University Innovation will work with clinical AI company Sensyne Health to identify projects at the academic center that deserve additional support. LAB10x is interested in a range of AI-related projects including digital therapeutics, clinical AI algorithms and drug discovery efforts across therapeutic areas and modalities.

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Evotec is contributing drug discovery capabilities and Sensyne is providing its software development and data analysis environment. Researchers accepted into LAB10x will also receive cash from a fund that will hand out £5 million ($6 million) over the first three years of the program.

The goal is to get projects up to commercial point of concept, giving them the data they need to win additional support. Evotec and Sensyne are entitled to equity in LAB10x spinouts and have the right to co-invest in seed rounds alongside the university's investment arm, Oxford Sciences Innovation. 

Sensyne will have the right to acquire intellectual property that does not lead to the creation of a company. The British AI player is also exploring other opportunities to collaborate with Evotec.

LAB10x is the latest in a series of similar initiatives involving Evotec. The first, LAB282, is now coming toward the end of an initial three-year term in which Evotec and its collaborators aimed to fund up to 40 projects at the University of Oxford and, in doing so, lead to the creation of three or four startups.

Within two years of setting up LAB282, Evotec had helped spawn similar initiatives in Canada, France and Seattle that involve partners including Sanofi and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 

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