AI and Pharma: a Match Made in Heaven?
Would you want automated machinery messing with your medications? Perhaps.
The truth is there's not much to complain about when efficiency takes over the pharmaceutical industry, and communities benefit from it. Traditionally we're talking about an industry that's notoriously slow and costly, adding more of that expense for taxpayers than is necessary. Drug development's a big deal: there's research, experimentation, studies, more research, testing, and then trials. And then more research. All the while many people with certain diseases and conditions continue to suffer with nothing to show for it.
So When We're Given a New Technology Like Artificial Intelligence, We Jump on It
Before we get into that, know that the latest figure in drug development costs sits around an average of $2.6B per drug brand. Ask yourself where that money comes from. Now also know that the average time a new drug takes to penetrate the market lasts for approximately 12 years. Additionally 10% of drug candidates advance to market level from Phase 1 successfully, so the vetting process is pretty strict. Is it worth it to try and optimize a painstaking process with technology innovation? By those numbers, the short answer is YES.
The fact is several companies have been working with AI as a way to optimize development of pharmaceuticals. Berg Health happens to be one of them, partnering with the US Veterans Administration, Walter Reed Army Hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic to find ways to treat prostate cancer. Through AI, that company's able to come up with massive ways to extrapolate all the data discovered by scientists and come up with new pharma that can benefit society in tremendous ways -- faster than any human can potentially do, in fact.
It presents the advent of what is now known as the data scientist, a student of metrics and technologies meant to pinpoint and target the right information and develop discovery and innovation quicker and more effectively. Generally speaking, it's difficult accomplishing that without something like artificial intelligence.
Don't Get Us Wrong, Though: Human Scientists Are Most Definitely Still Necessary
In general the consensus is that while AI can standardize, decentralize and potentially make it that much easier for criminals to manipulate such an automated system, our doctors and scientists still to this day would be the ones to monitor that system and the workflow through it to ensure quality and care. They'll just be paired with those data scientists and AI engineers -- an upcoming factor in the employment market, in fact, as technology continues to boost such an industry. Lastly, we need to ensure that whatever data's discovered in the relevancy of artificial intelligence implementation in the pharmaceutical industry, that data must be not only accurate, but actionable. Or else this is an industry simply shooting blanks at a moving target.
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