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SoftBank Leads $525 Million Fund Raise for U.K. Pharma Startup

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(Bloomberg) -- Oxford-based Exscientia, a pharmaceutical company that uses artificial intelligence to discover new drugs, has raised a new round of funding worth as much as $525 million to expand its pipeline of drugs and technological capabilities.

The investment was led by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund 2, with participation from previous investors Novo Holdings and BlackRock. Mubadala Investment Co., Farallon, Casdin, and GT Healthcare were among other new investors, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Exscientia declined to disclose a valuation or discuss a potential initial public offering and future financings. The Series D funding round is structured as a $225 million investment, with another $300 million equity commitment from SoftBank available at Exscientia’s discretion.

“Exscientia’s innovative use of AI to discover and design better quality drugs with greater efficiency has the potential to create important medicines faster than ever before,” SoftBank Investment Advisers’ Managing Partner Eric Chen said in the statement.

The company says it has more than 20 projects in development, including two currently in clinical trials, and has partnered with firms including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bayer AG, and Sanofi, as well as several biotech firms, Chief Financial Officer Ben Taylor said in an email.

The investment is SoftBank’s latest in the U.K. since it put $400 million in the now-collapsed fintech startup Greensill at the end of last year. Other U.K. investments include banking startup OakNorth and gaming company Improbable Worlds.

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