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Name: Exscientia
Location: Oxford, UK
About: Based in the UK, Exscientia's mission is to encode, automate, and transform every stage of the drug design and development process, by combining the latest AI techniques with experimental innovation, to enable the design of patient-centric drug candidates with an improved probability of success. Their validated platform has delivered the first three AI-designed drugs to enter clinical trials and is the first AI system proven to improve clinical outcomes in oncology.

The Struggle

Dan, the VP Legal at Exscientia, was facing a familiar struggle in the legal world:

  • A never-ending flood of emails
  • Countless requests for contract templates
  • The relentless back-and-forth of contract negotiations.

As the head of a small team in a rapidly growing company, Dan found himself trying to juggle contract requests while also trying to get their 'house in order' pre-IPO.

The situation was far from ideal.

Before Gatekeeper, contracts in Exscientia were managed via email, Google Drive, and Excel.

We were spending so much time digging through emails, getting attachments from DocuSign envelopes, dragging and dropping them into the right folder, renaming them, and all that kind of stuff. Not a good use of a lawyer's time." -


The Turning Point

Dan was tasked by leadership to think about innovative AI-driven solutions to the problem, rather than just increasing headcount.

He knew there had to be a better way to manage contracts and streamline legal processes. So, he embarked on a quest to find a tool that could transform his daily grind into a more efficient and organised workflow. It needed to be a tool that the whole organisation would use.

Finding and implementing Gatekeeper

Dan went to Google, looked at the “best lists”, and asked peers for recommendations before shortlisting the considered options down to five. Gatekeeper, Docusign, Juro, Lawvu, and SAP Ariba.

  • Dan wanted a system that the whole company would use, with a user-friendly interface
  • The Gatekeeper pricing model worked for Exscientia, “because I wanted everyone in the organisation to use it. I didn't like the products that required purchasing a license for each and every user”. Pricing by contract worked for them.
  • Gatekeeper has a native NetSuite integration as well as the ability to use DocuSign for those more familiar with the layout.
  • Gatekeeper has an in-house implementation team and the whole process was “smooth”.

“James, our implementation consultant, was genuinely excellent.”

Positive Time Saving and Benefits Realised

Following the implementation, Dan and his team began to experience the true benefits of Gatekeeper. The most tangible change was the transformation of their NDA process. Previously, requests for NDA templates were a time-consuming back-and-forth.

Before Gatekeeper, Dan used to process about seven NDA requests per week. The administrative work took about 10 to 15 minutes for each NDA "on a good day".

Dan also conducted negotiations, amendments, and changes via email - typically involving two rounds - with the first round lasting 35 minutes and the second round lasting 10 minutes.

Managing NDAs consumed approximately seven hours of Dan's time per week, conservatively speaking.

With Gatekeeper, the process is streamlined into three steps:

  1. The business fills in the NDA request form and it is emailed out.
  2. Negotiations for the NDA occur within Gatekeeper.
  3. It's signed and filed.

Dan noted:  'We have way fewer touchpoints now.'Negotiation time has been halved, and administrative time has been almost entirely eliminated."

Conservatively,three hours in negotiation and 36 minutes on admin tasks have been saved. The team has also seen a 15% increase in acceptance in the base draft NDA since using Gatekeeper freeing up additional negotiation time.

With the newfound time, Dan's growing team could shift their focus to strategic initiatives. The junior team members found themselves with more opportunities to engage in higher-level tasks. They could contribute to board-level discussions and business development, furthering their careers.

Dan's journey with Gatekeeper turned his struggle into a success story.

The platform's flexibility and efficiency freed up valuable time and transformed the legal team's role within Exscientia. As they continue to grow, Gatekeeper remains a reliable and crucial partner in their journey toward a more streamlined and strategic future.

For more information on how Gatekeeper is helping its customers manage their vendors effectively, contact us today.

About Exscientia

Exscientia is a global pharmatech company using patient-first artificial intelligence (AI) to discover better drugs, faster.

Based in the UK, Exscientia's mission is to encode, automate, and transform every stage of the drug design and development process, by combining the latest AI techniques with experimental innovation, to enable the design of patient-centric drug candidates with an improved probability of success.

Their validated platform has delivered the first three AI-designed drugs to enter clinical trials and is the first AI system proven to improve clinical outcomes in oncology.

Exscientia has significantly accelerated pre-clinical drug discovery, with 10x productivity improvement in delivering a drug candidate compared with industry standards.

By actively applying AI to precision engineer medicines more rapidly and efficiently, Exscientia allows the best ideas of science to rapidly become the best medicines for patients.

Shannon Smith
Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith bridges the gap between expert knowledge and practical VCLM application. Through her extensive writing, and years within the industry, she has become a trusted resource for Procurement and Legal professionals seeking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of vendor management, contract management and third-party risk management.


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