Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) said its portfolio firm, Exscientia, received an investment of up to US$525mln after closing a Series D funding round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

Exscientia, a pharmatech firm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to design drugs, said the funding round had closed after raising US$225mln, adding it has access to an additional US$300mln from SoftBank that can be drawn down at the firm’s discretion.

WATCH: Frontier IP Group reveal ‘very positive’ double digit portfolio growth

The funding round was also joined by other investors including Novo Holdings, Blackrock, Mubadala Investment Company, Farallon Capital, Casdin Capital, GT Healthcare Capital, Marshall Wace, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Laurion Capital, Hongkou and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Exscientia said it will use the proceeds of the funding round to continue the expansion of its pipeline through clinical testing as well as continue expanding its technology platform toward autonomous drug design.

“All of our investors share Exscientia’s vision to discover better drugs, faster, through AI and automation. Our patient-first AI platform has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to precision design drugs that address patients’ needs. With the Series D completed, the quality and depth of our shareholder base allows us the freedom to continue to scale both our platform and pipeline”, Exscientia chief executive Andrew Hopkins said in a statement.

Frontier upgrades full-year forecasts

In a separate announcement, Frontier IP issued an update on its current trading, saying progress seen in its first half has continued into the second with further fundraising and commercialisation activity across its portfolio.

As a result of overall trading across its portfolio to date, Frontier said it expects the outcome for its current year to June 30 will be “materially ahead of management expectations” with a significant contribution being made from the increase in the book value of its interest in Exscientia.

“We are delighted with the news released by Exscientia as well as the progress across the portfolio during the financial year to date”, said Frontier IP chief executive Neil Crabb.

“Whilst it is not possible for the board to be certain on what the overall portfolio valuation will be at 30 June 2021, we expect it to be positively impacted by the material progress made at a number of companies, including Exscientia, Camgraphic and The Vaccine Group. As a result, we anticipate that the outcome for the year will be materially ahead of management expectations and we look forward to the remainder of the financial year and beyond with optimism”, he added.

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