Using AI for drug discovery could cut costs by as much as 70%: Is AI worth the hype?

September 9, 2022

Artificial intelligence might seem like a product of the future, but it’s actually already prominent in the technology we use every single day, from voice recognition tools to the built-in smart assistants on our mobile phones.

And it doesn’t stop there. AI is making a bang in the Biotechnology industry, becoming a key player in the world of drug discovery and development. More and more companies are serving the Biotech sector with their AI technologies, which is sparking both controversy and excitement in the entire industry.

However, is AI really the future of drug development, or is it just an unrealistic, hyped-up dream? And if it is the real deal, should you be looking into implementing it into your company?

The role of AI in drug discovery and development

Normally, producing a new medicine or treatment is a time-consuming and costly process that, quite frankly, doesn’t always work out in the end.

According to recent studies, AI is set to be the most disruptive technology in the industry, completely changing the way pharmaceutical companies work. Whether it’s drug target identification, predicting the efficacy of new drugs or even sifting through masses of scientific literature and data, the possibilities of AI are pretty much endless. As such, it’s no surprise that everyone wants to get on board.

And by harnessing the use of AI, pharmaceutical companies may now have the opportunity to explore medicines for rare diseases. Once deemed too time-consuming and pricey because of its lack of return on investment, it seems that using AI in this way could now be a surefire way to stay ahead of the game in the industry.

How AI can benefit you and your company

Simply put, AI can produce more effective results quicker and cheaper. Usually, to develop a new drug it can take around 10 years, with a hefty estimated price tag of around $2.6 billion.
And unfortunately, a lot of this money is effectively wasted.

This is because this enormous cost also includes the money spent on all the failed drug candidates that didn’t make it past clinical trials (around 90% of all candidates!) And when time is money, you could be saving yourself up to 70% on these costs according to recent insights. This is due to AI’s ability to predict how well a drug will perform, thereby ensuring scientists can develop effective treatments that are more likely to pass trials and make it to the market.

Also, studies undertaken by Bekryl reveal that the implementation of AI could save the entire industry around $70 billion by 2028 – another impressive stat that can’t be ignored.

Overall, bringing in artificial intelligence seems like a no-brainer.

Real-life examples of AI’s success

In recent years, Pfizer partnered with IBM Watson, making use of AI machine learning to drive forward their hunt for immuno-oncology drugs

While the average researcher can only digest around 200-300 articles a year, Watson’s technology can process approximately 25 million Medline abstracts, over 1 million full-text medical journal articles and 4 million patents – figures that are simply unattainable for a human alone.

Moreover, Biotechnology company Evotech boasts an impressive example of the time-saving benefits of AI when they announced a Phase I clinical trial on an anticancer molecule. Traditional processes might have normally taken around five years to produce this new candidate, whereas Evotech found it in just eight months thanks to an AI design platform.

Clearly, AI has worked for these companies, saving both time and money, and it’s possible that it could help you too.

Is AI worth the hype?

Typical setbacks for pharmaceutical companies involve pushing forward on ineffective treatments which is essentially throwing time and money down the drain. But by listening to AI predictions into a drug’s potential for success, you’re opening up more opportunities for your talented scientists and researchers to get a headstart on getting those life-changing medicines on the market faster.

Scientists are really starting to put this new, exciting form of technology through its paces, and while the emergence of AI-discovered drugs on the market may still be a few years off yet, we’re definitely seeing these treatments entering preclinical trials a lot more often.

So yes, it’s safe to say that AI is worth the hype. However, we’re by no means saying that it’s going to be the be all and end all of drug discovery. This isn’t a robotic takeover. However, when intertwined with the more traditional processes, AI could open up a whole new world for medicinal development

How you can harness the full potential of AI

Many are skeptical about the rise of AI, and you may be too. However, it’s important not to get left behind. The key for companies in a fast-paced industry like Biotech is to stay versatile and keep updated on the market, so that you can make informed decisions about whether or not AI would add value to your company.

And of course, if you did decide artificial intelligence was the route to go down, it takes top talent to know how to properly use and maintain this advanced technology. Research has shown that AI is not set to slow down anytime soon, with around 60% of respondents saying they expected to hire trained AI staff to assist the usage of AI in drug discovery and development.

And when it comes to finding the best talent in Biotech, we’re the experts. With years of experience and an entire network of high profile leaders in the industry, we can help you find the very people you need to ensure your company is thriving and ready for the future of technology.

All in all, although we can’t expect AI alone to locate revolutionary treatments, it can definitely speed up our search. So by introducing AI into your company, you could hold the keys to changing up the world of medicine forever.
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Published on 09-09-2022


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