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Pharma Companies Join Forces to Train AI for Drug Discovery Using Blockchain

Pharma Companies Join Forces to Train AI for Drug Discovery Using Blockchain

The newly organized research project “MELLODDY” (Machine Learning Ledger Orchestration for Drug Discovery), involving ten large pharma companies and seven technology providers, is that kind of deals which can catalyze a transition of the pharmaceutical industry to a new level -- a “paradigm shift”, as one might refer to it in terms of Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”.

The project aims at developing a state-of-the-art platform for collaboration, based on Owkin’s blockchain architecture technology, which would allow collective training of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms using data from multiple direct pharmaceutical competitors, without exposing their internal know-hows and compromising their intellectual property -- for the collective benefit of everyone involved. 

Toronto AI Startups Aim High in Drug Discovery Space

Toronto AI Startups Aim High in Drug Discovery Space

According to a report by the Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence of Canada, this country is home to more than eight hundred artificial intelligence (AI) companies, and the number of AI startups is growing by about 28% each year.

This is due to quite favorable conditions, that Canada offers to local and foreign AI-focused talent and organizations. Not only the country is a strong global leader in artificial intelligence research, with some of the most cited academics working here (Yoshua Bengio and Geoffrey Hinton -- pioneers of modern AI), but also the government is quite active in pushing Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, aiming at supporting AI research and talent attraction and retention in Canada.

"Hot" Research Areas in Drug Discovery - 2019

"Hot" Research Areas in Drug Discovery - 2019

Things like gene editing, stem cells, immunotherapies and new types of biologics are now mega-trends in the pharmaceutical industry, widely covered in media, and I guess there is little doubt that biology is the next big thing in medicine. However, in this post I would like to outline several hot areas in small molecule drug discovery, suggesting a lot of untapped potential and investment prospects in this more “traditional” pharmaceutical research space.

Antibiotic Research and Development - Public vs. Private Funding

Antibiotic Research and Development - Public vs. Private Funding

Over the past decade, pull incentives as a solution to the broken antibiotic market have been proposed to entice companies into antibiotic research and development.  These incentives would essentially provide a market, and therefore a return on investment for pharmaceutical companies. Almost all of today’s inadequate antibiotic pipeline is provided by biotech and small pharma.  All are threatened with loss of investor interest because of the failed marketplace and many are experiencing difficulty in raising funds either from public or private markets.  One alternative to providing money to the “evil” pharmaceutical industry via a substantial pull incentive is to create publicly funded non-profit organizations or public-private ventures that would essentially replace the industry in antibiotic research, development and commercialization. Two proponents of this approach are Lord Jim O’Neill (of the O’Neill Commission or Antimicrobial Resistance Review fame) and Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and of GARDP. Both, clearly, are key thought leaders in the area.