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Research shows the pharma industry believes AI will likely optimise R&D

Posted: 11 December 2019 | | 1 comment

A survey has shown that the pharmaceutical industry believes R&D will see a lot of benefit from digital transformation and that AI will be at the forefront.

New research has shown that the global pharmaceutical industry spends a significant amount of revenue on research and development (R&D) activities that are failing to deliver projected returns but that digital transformation with artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as a major step forward towards enhancing R&D productivity and effectiveness.

The research from GlobalData highlights that 48 percent of surveyed pharma professionals believe that R&D will see the most benefit from digital transformation, as compared to other activities. The survey also showed that AI (39 percent) and big data (23 percent) are expected to disrupt and transform the pharma sector the most over the next two years.

According to survey results, these two technologies will also continue to dominate as investment targets in the near future.

The researchers highlight that the need to optimise return on investment is forcing pharma to rethink its strategies, adopt innovations and chose technology providers to collaborate with.

“There have been numerous discussions around AI’s power to disrupt the pharma sector and a lot of buzz around when and who will successfully commercialise the first AI-generated drug,” said Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData. “However, the reality is that the adoption of AI in pharma is still in quite early stages – meaning that will take time for AI to produce tangible outcomes due to trial and error experimentation that comes with it.

“While no AI generated drugs have reached the market yet, AI application have been successful in fields such as diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy which is already a big step ahead. AI will eventually find its position in pharma’s value chain and strengthen the R&D, the question is how, when and at what cost?”

However, as the researchers point out, effective co-ordination needs to be put in place to fully optimise digital transformation for R&D, which may slow down progress.

“While pharma executives may see digital transformation as a way to optimise R&D, it seems that technology leaders tend to prioritise infrastructural development. This lack of coordination within organisation can prove to be costly and slow down the innovation process as it may push the businesses to different directions.”

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