Exscientia: worlds first trials of new drug candidate created by artificial intelligence


Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. (Head office: Osaka, Japan, Representative Director, President and CEO: Hiroshi Nomura) and Exscientia Ltd. (Headquarters: Oxford, UK; CEO: Andrew Hopkins) announce that a phase I clinical study of DSP-1181, that was created using Artificial Intelligence (AI), has been initiated in Japan for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder as an initial indication.

DSP-1181 was created through the joint research by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Exscientia, with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma providing its experience and knowledge in monoamine GPCR drug discovery and Exscientia applying its Centaur Chemist™ Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for drug discovery. This project was delivered by the strong synergy of the joint research, requiring less than 12 months to complete the exploratory research phase, just a fraction of the typical average of 4.5 years using conventional research techniques. ref)

DSP-1181 is being progressed as a long-acting and potent serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist, and its phase I clinical study to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder as an indication candidate. Through this, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma has expanded its development pipeline to treat key unmet medical needs in the Psychiatry and Neurology area, one of the company’s three focus research areas.

We are very excited with the results of the joint research that resulted in the development of candidate compounds in a very short time. Exscientia’s sophisticated AI drug discovery technologies combined with our company’s deep experience in monoamine GPCR drug discovery, allowed us to work synergistically, delivering a highly successful outcome. We will continue to work hard to make this clinical study a success so that it may deliver new benefits to patients as soon as possible.

Toru Kimura, Board of Directors, Senior Executive Officer and Senior Executive Research Director of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma

We believe that this entry of DSP-1181, created using AI, into clinical studies is a key milestone in drug discovery. This project’s rapid success was through strong alignment of the integrated knowledge and experiences in chemistry and pharmacology on monoamine GPCR drug discovery at Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma with our AI technologies. We are proud that our AI drug discovery platform Centaur Chemist™ has contributed to generate DSP-1181 and look forward to its progression as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia


Monoamine GPCR drug discovery

Drug discovery targeting G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), endogenous ligands of which are monoamine neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

OCD is a psychiatric disorder characterized by the presence of obsessions (repetitive and persistence thoughts, images, or urges) and/or compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental acts). OCD is associated with reduced quality of life as well as high levels of social and occupational impairment as a result of time-consuming (e.g., take more than 1 hour per day) by obsessions or compulsions. The mechanism of OCD has not been clarified, however dysfunction in the orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and striatum have been most strongly implicated. The number of patients in Japan and the United States is estimated to be over 1 million and around 3 million, respectively.


Paul SM et al “How to improve R&D productivity: the pharmaceutical industry’s grand challenge” Nature Review Drug Discovery 2010