AI finally making its mark in pharma as first AI-generated drug enters clinical trials, says GlobalData

In 2020, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to trend as integral parts of the future of pharmaceutical research and healthcare service delivery, says GlobalData, the data and analytics company.

The company’s latest annual outlook report, ‘The State of the Biopharmaceutical Industry – 2020’, reveals that 65% of pharma managers and executives surveyed selected big data (32%) or AI (33%) as the technology they expected to have the greatest impact on the industry in 2020. 

Bonnie Bain, PhD, Global Head of Pharma at GlobalData, comments: “AI and big data go hand in hand, and AI-powered by big data will be used across a spectrum of processes ranging from target identification to commercialization activities.” 

It was recently announced that the first AI-created drug, DSP-1181, will soon enter clinical trials. Developed by British start-up Exscientia and Japanese pharmaceutical firm, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, the drug is a breakthrough for the industry. Typically, it takes close to five years for a drug to go from inception to clinical trials but the AI-created drug only took 12 months to reach this stage.

Bain continued: “DSP-1181 making it to clinical trials at such a rapid pace offers hope for drug developers as this speed of development could potentially translate into cost savings and a more sustainable drug pipeline.” 

While big data and AI were highlighted as the most popular technologies among pharma managers and executives, this response is in contrast to GlobalData’s 2019 survey of pharma technology leaders, who believed that cybersecurity was the biggest area of investment and concern. 

Bain concluded: “The more the industry embraces digital technologies such as AI, the more it exposes itself to emerging cyber risks which will be an immediate concern to internal IT and technology leaders. As such, investing in cybersecurity and cloud computing remains a business imperative in order to remain competitive.”

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