Pharma Giants Turn to Artificial Intelligence to Pace up Drug Discovery

Published Date : Jul 03, 2017

At artificial intelligence (AI) takes industries by storm, leading names in the pharmaceutical sector are gearing to join the bandwagon. Their primary intention being speeding up the hit-and-miss businesses with regards to finding novel medicines. On Sunday, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) became the latest enterprise in the sector to unveil a new US$43 mn deal in the field of artificial intelligence.

Some of the other prominent names in the pharmaceutical sector such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, and Sanofi are exploring AI potential as well, to streamline their drug discovery process and pace up with the dynamic business environment. Their aim being harnessing the latest technologies in supercomputers and machine learning systems to understand how molecules may behave and how likely they are to result in a useful drug. The technology will therefore help them save time and money, alike.

Increasing Number of Pharma Companies Keen on Adopting AI Technologies

AI systems have already become integral to several other high-tech areas. Their use in facial recognition and driverless cars has gained pace in the last few years. However, it is only recently that the pharmaceutical industry has started realizing the potential of the technology and how it can be used to improve efficiencies. However, when it comes to artificial intelligence, big pharma is cautiously treading, considering that AI is yet to demonstrate its ability to bring a novel molecule from computer screen to a clinic or lab, and finally to the market.

This however did not deter pharmaceutical giants from exploring opportunities in AI. Earlier this year, GlaxoSmithKline collaborated with the US Department of Energy and National Cancer Institute to speed up pre-clinical drug development using advanced computational technologies.