AI startup inks $70M deal with Gates Foundation to develop COVID-19 treatment

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and artificial intelligence company Exscientia are partnering to develop a COVID-19 treatment using AI software, CNBC reported Sept. 9.

Four details:

  1. The Gates Foundation and Exscientia said Sept. 8 they have signed a four-year deal valued at up to $70 million. Part of the funding will go toward developing a novel antiviral pill that can be used to treat the novel coronavirus and prevent future pandemics, CNBC reported.

  2. "The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency to develop safe and effective broad-spectrum drugs to expand our armory against viruses and their variants," Andrew Hopkins, the CEO of Exscientia, told CNBC.

  3. According to Exscientia, its AI software can reduce the time it takes to discover new drugs by up to 80 percent.

  4. Remdesivir is the only antiviral drug that is currently approved for COVID-19 treatment, and there is still room for further development, according to the report.

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