Artificial intelligence technology is penetrating many fields with a solution we have never expected. The pharma industry, as one of the industries that are being revolutionized by technology, is being hyped by the artificial intelligence technology. Firstly, AI trend going up, 50 percent of healthcare industry executives expect large scale AI applications by 2025, according to a study by Emerj. Therefore, big plans inside. But apart from the trend itself, how are pharmaceutical companies using AI right now? and what are the applications they are working on? This is the question we are answering today with some dives into applications inside some of the largest pharma companies.
Artificial Intelligence in Pharma Examples:
Johnson & Johnson, the company that topped the pharmaceutical companies with the highest revenues in 2016. Meanwhile, is working together with IBM’s Watson Health on an artificial intelligence-powered mobile platform targeting health improvement. The IBM cloud-based system called Watson is capable of processing huge volumes of data all through the cloud. The platform wants to offer virtual patient coaching. Certainly, for patients who are undergoing certain surgeries like joint replacements and spine surgeries. The coaching could be done through a mobile app that also monitors the patient before and after the operation.
Genentech, (a subsidiary of Roche,) announced it is collaborating with GNS Healthcare (precision medicine company), on developing cancer-focused therapies. Companies gather huge amounts of cancer patients’ data to find a novel cure. Then, machine learning technologies aim to discover new cancer therapies. In 2016 only, Roche invested 9.9 Swiss francs on research and development. Moreover, Roche acquired Bina Technologies in 2014. Bina is a company that is developing a platform for large scale genome sequencing, which involves AI, but it is not clear how specifically AI is being used before or after the company was acquired by the Swiss giant.
Novartis’ breast cancer fight with data
Novartis announced its collaboration with IBM’s Watson platform in 2017, revealing its research will focus on improving breast cancer treatment. The company uses the gathered data to find the various outcomes of treatment options to help patients decide. A month before this collaboration, Novartis revealed it is working on accelerating the clinical development of new breast cancer therapies with another collaboration with Cota Healthcare, a data and technology precision medicine platform. The company seems to be investing very heavily in its researches. As it reported that it had spent 9 billion dollars in 2016 only on research and development.
Since 2016, Pfizer was one of the first companies that collaborated with IBM. As a result, Pfizer used the Watson platform for drug discovery using artificial intelligence. The Watson platform has gathered data from 25 million medicine article abstracts. Certainly, this is huge compared to the 200 to 300 articles a human can read through a whole year. This data mainly targets the discovery of new drugs for cancer. The Watson platform doesn’t just gather data and analyze it through machine learning. But it also provides its users with powerful tools that let them explore potential relationships between disparate pieces of data through dynamic visualization technology. Pfizer spent 7.8 million dollars in less than a year after collaboration with IBM on utilizing the Watson platform. While it keeps the results of the researches unannounced until now.
The world’s largest pharma companies are investing heavily in technology. With AI becoming rapidly one of the most promising ones that no giant wants to miss. All of this comes beside many of the hardworking inside independent companies pursuing them in utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning in developing new solutions and drugs.