The Dundee spinout has raised more than $304m in its IPO in the US, with another $160m secured through a concurrent private placement.

Exscientia, the UK-based artificial intelligence-powered drug discovery platform spun out of University of Dundee, went public on Friday after raising more than $304m in its initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The spinout issued more than 13.8 million American Depositary Shares (ADSs) – representing the same number of ordinary shares – priced at $22 each. The transaction valued Exscientia at $2.9bn and its shares, trading under EXAI, are worth $27.10 as of the time of publication. Telecoms conglomerate SoftBank, through its Vision Fund 2, and philanthropic organisation the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, purchased a respective $125m and $35m of ADSs in a concurrent private placement. Founded in 2012, Exscientia has built an end-to-end target identification, drug design and patient selection platform that relies on artificial intelligence to accelerate the process. The spinout has three programmes in phase 1 trials: one developed internally – EXS21546 to stimulate the restoration of T cell functionality in cancer treatments – and two in partnership with pharmaceutical firm Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. Proceeds from the offering have been allocated to platform development, the completion of EXS21546’s phase 1 study, additional proof-of-concept studies, funding Exscientia’s pandemic preparedness programme and other R&D activities. Exscientia had raised more than $368m in equity funding before the flotation. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led a $225m series D round in April 2021, when pharmaceutical firms Novo and Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) also took part. Fund managed by BlackRock, GT Healthcare Capital, Marshall Wace, Pivotal BioVenture Partners, Laurion Capital, Hongkou and Mubadala Investment Company filled out the series D round, to which SoftBank committed an additional $300m to be withdrawn at Exscientia’s discretion. Exscentia’s earlier capital was supplied by Novo, BMS, drug discovery firm Evotec, unnamed limited partners of GT Healthcare and Celgene (since acquired by BMS). Commercialisation firm Frontier IP is also a shareholder, having helped establish Exscientia. Prof Andrew Hopkins, founder and chief executive of Exscientia, has emerged with a 15.8% shareholding following the offering – down from 19.1%. SoftBank has become the largest shareholder in Exscientia following the private placement, increasing its stake from 13.7% to 16.3%. Other notable shareholders include Evotec (11.9% post-IPO), Novo (11.1%) and BlackRock (5.4%). Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BofA Securities and Barclays Capital are the underwriters for the offering. They have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2.08 million ADSs, which would boost proceeds to more than $350m.

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).