A Welsh academic turned entrepreneur has amassed a paper fortune of nearly Â£ 400million through the IPO of life science firm Exscientia.
Professor Andrew Hopkins, a native of Neath and the first member of his family to go to college, made his fortune from the listing of Oxford-based artificial intelligence-based drug discovery company Exscientia thanks to an IPO on the Nasdaq New York Stock Exchange.
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After its debut on Friday, the company’s shares climbed 32% to $ 29 early in trading, valuing the company at $ 3.7 billion, before falling back to $ 27.
Professor Hopkins, one of the most distinguished and cited scientists in modern drug discovery, established the company in 2012 as a spin-out from the University of Dundee.
The 49-year-old owns 18.6 million shares, giving him a 15.8% stake in the company. However, the CEO of Exscientia does not intend to sell his stake.
At the close of negotiations on Friday, his stake was worth Â£ 370million, making him one of the richest people in Wales.
He was educated at Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School and Neath College. His first summer job at the age of 16 was in the British Steel laboratories at the Port Talbot steelworks. He was the first in his family to attend college when he got a scholarship from British Steel to attend the University of Manchester, where he received a first class degree in chemistry in 1993.
Following graduate studies at Wadham College, Oxford, he obtained a doctorate in molecular biophysics for his work on the design of anti-HIV drugs, which led him to join Pfizer.
After a decade at Pfizer after joining the University of Dundee in 2007, where a new drug discovery unit had been established.
Exscientia uses artificial intelligence to allow it to take much less time and money to discover new successful drugs. It automatically analyzes patients’ genetic data and finds molecules that could be used in new drugs.
Professor Hopkins holds an Honorary Chair in Medicinal Informatics at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee.