Why Relay Therapeutics (RLAY) Is Buying ZebiAI

By Amit Chowdhry ● April 17, 2021
  • Relay Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: RLAY) recently announced it is buying ZebiAI. These are the details about the deal.

Relay Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: RLAY) — a clinical-stage precision medicine company transforming the drug discovery process by combining leading-edge computational and experimental technologies — announced recently that it is buying ZebiAI. ZebiAI is known as being a pioneer in applying massive experimental DNA encoded library data sets to power machine learning for drug discovery (ML-DEL)

By acquiring ZebiAI, Relay Therapeutics has a goal of accelerating the application of machine learning across the Dynamo platform to potentially fast-track the finding of novel medicines against intractable targets.

The team at Relay Therapeutics has a track record of integrating leading-edge computational and experimental technologies that position the company as a strategic partner of choice for emerging technologies and founders in these fields. 

ZebiAI is considered the first of such technologies that will augment the Dynamo platform. And Relay Therapeutics is looking forward to making further investments in these areas.

As a company, Relay Therapeutics’ approach is to continually enhance the drug discovery processes by accumulating experimental data sets at each point along the discovery continuum and deploy the data sets in order to strengthen the predictive power of proprietary computational tools. And ZebiAI is building on Relay Therapeutics’ approach by bringing a massive library of curated experimental data, validated machine learning models, a collaboration with Google’s Accelerated Science Group to continue to build this computational capability as well as a team with deep expertise in ML-DEL.

As part of the merger agreement, Relay Therapeutics will pay $85 million upfront, comprised of $20 million in cash and $65 million in Relay Therapeutics common stock. And ZebiAI stockholders are also eligible to receive up to an additional $85 million in platform and program-related milestone payments, payable in Relay Therapeutics common stock. Plus — if Relay Therapeutics enters partnering or collaboration agreements related to ZebiAI’s platform — ZebiAI stockholders are eligible to receive 10% of the payments received within the next three years, up to an aggregate cap of $100 million payable in cash. 

This acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. And upon closing of this acquisition, Relay Therapeutics continues to expect its current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund its current operating plan into 2024.


“We are excited to welcome the ZebiAI team into Relay Therapeutics. We have built a unique ability over the past five years to combine diverse computational and experimental technologies to create new medicines. The combination of ZebiAI’s approach with our Dynamo platform has the potential to predict more drug-like chemical starting points, reduce cycle time to compound optimization, and ultimately, increase the number and range of programs that can be developed in parallel. We aim to continue to tackle the toughest drug discovery problems to have an even greater impact on patients, and ZebiAI will help us achieve this goal.”

— Sanjiv Patel, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Relay Therapeutics

“We believe the combination of Relay Therapeutics’ proven track record of integrating computational and experimental technologies to bring medicines into clinical development with ZebiAI’s extensive experimental data sets and ML-DEL capabilities will push the boundaries of what is possible in drug discovery.” 

— Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli, Ph.D., chief learning officer of ZebiAI and assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology — who will join Relay Therapeutics as an advisor

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes. Before making any investment, you should do your own analysis.