AI could help pharma streamline drug development

AI is helping speed the drug development process, an approach that could save drug manufacturers millions.

Drug development is expensive, time-consuming and—more often than not—wildly unsuccessful.  That’s why drug manufacturers are recruiting artificial intelligence to streamline the process.

AI is helping drugmakers narrow the number of molecules that have the greatest potential to react favorably to certain drugs, according to Wired. Recently developed algorithms, outlined in a study published in Science and Translational Medicine, can comb through genetic information and so-called “druggable proteins” to see if already developed drugs can be used to treat another illness.

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Researchers say this approach shave down the discovery phase of drug development from as much as six years to just a few months, potentially saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. 

This is still a novel approach to drug development, so there is still some skepticism about whether AI can actually push a drug into the market. But researchers see it as a potentially promising new methodology.

The use of AI may be relatively new in the pharmaceutical industry, but hospitals are already using AI to classify disease, reverse diabetes and fight physician burnout. But deep learning experts have also pointed out the power behind AI process is accompanied by an “unanswerable question” about how computers process information.

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