We are fortunate to be in one of the nation’s top drug discovery locations. In fact, in 2016, Bloomberg Business ranked Massachusetts the #1 state for innovation. Daily, prominent local biotech and pharmaceutical companies such as Biogen, Vertex, Merck, Sanofi, Pfizer, Novartis, and others are diligent, creatively, and artfully driving drug discovery to deliver therapies to patients with limited or unmet options.
Can Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Advance Time-To-Market for the Drug Development Industry?
Continued innovation is key to moving swiftly – from initial investigations to the desired outcome. Today, on average, it can take ten years or more for therapies to evolve from the initial concept to a meaningful patient impact.
Researchers investigate molecular compounds with the goal of designing a product that will stop or reverse the effects of a target disease. From there, the process of clinical trials can take up to seven years.
And sadly, even those that reach the last stage in the clinical trials process, Phase 3, may fail. Drug development is an incredibly expensive endeavor with the estimated cost of successfully bringing a drug to market averaging $2.6 billion.
Artificial Intelligence is Disrupting the Drug Discovery Process
Researchers are innovators and will continually search for ways to expedite the process. Enter the potentials of disruptive technology! Today, many firms are exploring the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) to help modernize the drug discovery process.
Conceptually, the use of supercomputers and machine learning systems may be able to “predict how molecules will behave and how likely they are to make a useful drug, thereby saving time and money on unnecessary tests.”
However, “…when it comes to AI, big pharma is treading cautiously, in the knowledge that the technology has yet to demonstrate it can successfully bring a new molecule from computer screen to lab to clinic and finally to market.” [Reuters, Ben Hirschler: Big pharma turns to AI to speed drug discovery].
We must have hope. Outside of drug discovery, machine learning and AI has transformed almost every industry it touches. Every day thousands of us leverage Google Maps, Uber, Lyft and for years, commercial airline pilots have relied on – Autopilot!
It is our sincere belief that insights driven by AI and machine learning will help pharmaceutical companies increase the chances of key medications and therapies reach the successful regulatory approval they need to launch and improve the lives of so many.