In a deal said to be worth $4.8 million, drug discovery company ex scientia is teaming up with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals to discover and optimize novel medicines for psychiatric disorders. Sunovion has paid ex scientia $1 million up front and is picking up exclusive worldwide rights to compounds resulting from the agreement. ex scientia is retaining the exclusive rights to its technology, which it describes as a systematic algorithmic discovery platform to design molecules to a tailored polypharmacology or “bispecific” target profile.

The firms will focus on developing novel approaches to compound design by analyzing data arising from phenotypic drug discovery. ex scientia says the pact combines the power of phenotypic screening with its technology for the rational design of polypharmacology drugs and will build upon ex scientia's delivery of bispecific compounds that combine activities at the GPCR and ion channel target families.

“This partnership establishes our design platform as a method of choice for data-driven phenotypic drug discovery,” ex scientia's founder and CEO Andrew Hopkins said in a statement. “The agreement shows the power of applying a polypharmacology philosophy to challenging disease areas and our commitment to building strategic partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies to deliver novel medicines.”

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