An equal seat at the table for AI in pharmaceutical discovery

This article explores the current state of artificial intelligence (AI) in drug discovery and development, discussing the obstacles holding back wider adoption. Dr Mark Eller, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Aria Pharmaceuticals, makes the case that to succeed, AI must be integrated as a partner alongside core pharmaceutical R&D disciplines.

As a former R&D lead, my perspective was not unlike many. After being so immersed in the process of discovering and developing new drugs using traditional methods and practices, it was difficult for me to wrap my mind around a reality where AI could replace all the hard work and research of humans to produce the same product, much less produce it significantly faster. After all, my background is in drug discovery and development; an industry driven by rigorous science where shortcuts are not an option. I helped lead R&D programmes that introduced new and lifesaving treatments to millions of patients and the traditional process was working.

Today, that has significantly changed and now I see tremendous value in engaging technology – more specifically, AI – as a valuable R&D partner. Our access to powerful computational tools and machine learning has the potential to…