AstraZeneca, AI biologics firm Absci tie up on cancer drug


FILE PHOTO: The AstraZeneca logo is pictured outside the AstraZeneca office building in Brussels as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, Belgium, January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

(Reuters) -Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca has signed a deal worth up to $247 million with U.S. artificial intelligence (AI) biologics firm Absci to design an antibody to fight cancer, Absci said in a statement on Sunday.

Absci's collaboration with AstraZeneca aims for a zero-shot generative AI model designed to create new and improved antibody therapeutics, the company said. It did not say what kind of cancer they plan to target.

Absci applies generative artificial intelligence to design optimal drug candidates based on target affinity, safety, manufacturability and other traits.

"We're proud to work closely with AstraZeneca to leverage our AI to bring novel treatments to oncology patients," Absci CEO Sean McClain said.

AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a Reuters requests for comment.

The Financial Times, which first reported the deal, said it includes an upfront fee for Absci, research and development funding and milestone payments, and royalties on any product sales.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna and Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard and Chizu Nomiyama)

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