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Section: Biopharma Insights     View all sections

[Interview] The Rise of Quantum Physics in Drug Discovery

   by Andrii Buvailo    1819
[Interview] The Rise of Quantum Physics in Drug Discovery

Computer-aided drug design (CADD) is a central part of so-called “rational drug design”, pioneered in the last century by companies like Vertex. Over the last decades, CADD had great influence on the way new therapeutics are discovered, however, it also showed limitations due to modest accuracy of computational tools.  

The majority of software tools used for computational chemistry and biology rely on molecular mechanics -- a simplified representation of molecules, essentially reducing them down to “balls and sticks”: atoms and bonds between them. In this way it is easier to compute, but accuracy suffers greatly.

In order to gain adequate accuracy, one has to account for the electronic behavior of atoms and molecules, i.e. consider subatomic particles -- electrons and protons. This is what quantum mechanical (QM) methods are all about -- and the theory is not new, dating back to the early decades of the 20th century.  

[Interview] Applying AI To Shape Business Strategies At European Pharma Organizations

   by Andrii Buvailo    517
[Interview] Applying AI To Shape Business Strategies At European Pharma Organizations

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the pharmaceutical industry has become a long-term strategic priority for most companies. However, the efficiency of this endeavor depends greatly on the availability of large volumes of properly curated quality data, which is not always the case.

While pharma organizations generate huge volumes of data across all stages of drug discovery, development, and commercialization, not all types of data are equally useful for building efficient machine learning (ML) pipelines. For instance, it is relatively easier to apply AI-tech to consumer-related business processes, where lots of well-understood and properly labeled data is available, than it is for basic research tasks, where data is complex, often poorly labeled and extremely domain-specific.

The above situation leads to a faster pace of progress with AI application in such areas as financial analysis, consumer-behavior prediction, patient classification, marketing, and so on.

One of the important hurdles that pharma companies are trying to solve using AI tech is brand management. Indeed, understanding peculiar features of various patient categories, their purchasing behaviors, reactions to different products, revealing possible risks and side-effects for each class -- those things become essential for pharma companies to be able to develop and implement truly patient-centric brand management strategies. Luckily, this is one of the most fruitful areas for the application of machine learning (especially deep learning) models.

To get a better understanding of how it can be done, I have asked several questions to Agnieszka Wolk, Senior Director, Data Science, IQVIA, who recently presented this topic at the PMSA 2019 European Summit in Basel, Switzerland. . 


[Interview] Demystifying the Role of Artificial Intelligence in The Life Sciences

   by Andrii Buvailo    672
[Interview]  Demystifying the Role of Artificial Intelligence in The Life Sciences

In this interview, Rasim Shah, Director at OKRA Technologies provided a glimpse into how the company applies state of the art machine learning technologies to solve real world challanges in the life sciences. Rasim also agreed to answer several questions about a more general context of AI in pharma, its current challanges and future perspective, as well as describe the current efforts the European Union puts into supporting the AI ecosystem in the region.


Rasim Shah, Director at OKRA Technologies:

OKRA Technologies is a leading European artificial intelligence (AI) company for life sciences. Our goal is to empower life science executives at their desks or whilst on the move, with explainable AI outputs. OKRA’s solutions deliver suggestions, predictions and explanations to enable life sciences executives and operational teams to drive the right drug to the right patient with humanised and understandable AI outputs. The OKRA engine learns from real-world data, structured, unstructured, clinical, commercial and scientific literature to drive the right insight to the different teams in life sciences. Our deep expertise in AI, combined with in-depth medical and product knowledge from life science leaders, has allowed us to develop and co-create products that can transform the way life sciences approach traditional industry challenges. We focus on operationalising AI in an ethical way by placing users of these systems at the centre.

[Interview] Adoption of AI-driven Tools By The Life Sciences Professionals: What Is Coming In 2018?

   by Andrii Buvailo    2775
[Interview] Adoption of AI-driven Tools By The Life Sciences Professionals: What Is Coming In 2018?

The previous year was rich in discussions and events one way or another related to potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) advances for the benefit of drug discovery and development.

(Note: For the sake of simplicity, the term “AI” will be applied herein interchangeably with terms like “machine learning” (ML), “deep learning” (DL), “neural networks” (NN) etc., although conceptually, those terms are quite different in meaning. The term AI describes a field of computer science studying how to make a computer intelligent at doing something, while terms like ”machine learning”, “deep learning”, and “neural networks” relate to algorithms and methods by which it can be achieved.).

[Interview] The Current Status Of AI In Drug Discovery And Looking Forward Into 2018

   by Andrii Buvailo    5081
[Interview] The Current Status Of AI In Drug Discovery And Looking Forward Into 2018

Without a doubt, the area of artificial intelligence (AI) has been a sensation lately -- judging by the amount of hype around this topic. But the hype is not a guarantee of a real breakthrough, which is defined by facts and measurable achievements, not just loud statements.

The fact is, however, AI-driven systems managed to learn chess at a champion level in just 4 hours, and beat human champions in Jeopardy, and Go -- we all know that. And Facebook can recognize faces in a blurry photo where you are hanging out with a bunch of friends -- not worse than you (human) can do. You can try and see it for yourself anytime -- it works!