In the past few years, the pharmaceutical industry has started to invest millions and millions of dollars in artificial intelligence. But why would they do that? One reason is that companies are trying to discover biomarkers to create new drugs. By understanding what biomarker is expressed in certain cancers you have the knowledge to design new drugs. It’s difficult to know whether a drug that is being marketed was designed by ai but it wouldn’t be a surprise if we hear the next drug was found in silico.
As the industry is moving with technology, pharma companies are starting to work closely with AI startups, recently AstraZeneca started working with Berg, and Genentech started working with GNS Healthcare . Each partnerships unique and distinct to its own, collaborating with one another to find new drugs, or analyzing oncology therapeutics.
AI may seem like a buzzword for data but this technology has been used in different industries like Finance. The use of machine learning is already improving many industries. Making sense for pharma companies to invest in better and newer research from data analyzed by systems. Exscientia worked with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, within 12 months this partnership optimize a drug candidate. Talk about making a difference.
AI can identify drug targets not known by scientists, further it can discover and attempt to create a drug candidate that treats a disease. suitable for creating new drugs too. As the drug is brought in from phase I to phase II, with data we can determine whether the drug will be successful. This will lower millions of dollars invested in scaling up. Making it easier to skip steps as they predict the results.
Another pharma tech company name, Benevolent, is changing the industry by using tech to analyze patents, biological and genetic information via data mining. They created their own NLP and AI features to extrapolate relationships and figure out all info on their own via AI.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, there’s also the potential to identify and also select some new drug molecules. While this is an extremely challenging part of the drug discovery process, and since there are more molecules than stars in the universe, it’s almost impossible for people to identify new drugs on their own without huge effort. Thanks to artificial intelligence they get to acquire a helping hand that does pay off big time here.
Since AI seems to be extremely powerful and a great tool for the pharma world, you may have to wonder whether it will replace human intelligence in this process. That’s not the case for many years. While AI is indeed powerful, it still needs human guidance and controls to identify things and process them. Even if those processes can be automated, someone still needs to program and handle that artificial intelligence.
But one thing is certain, using artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the drug discovery process. As you can see from our examples above, the potential is there and what we need to do is to unlock it as fast as possible. Are there going to be challenges as we improve the AI power and try to reach amazing results? Absolutely, but the rewards are outstanding. Being able to find drugs and cures for diseases, synthesizing drugs a lot faster and even mutating or variating various drug formats is just the beginning if this technology continues to grow!
A biotechnology and sci fi nerd, that enjoys writing about new innovations within the science world and industry.