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European Biopharmaceutical Review

AI Does Not Drive Novel Drug Discovery, Science Does

The use of AI in drug discovery, or any industry, is not a futuristic concept. However, it continues to receive media attention and is pushed by industry voices as a revolutionary fix for declining productivity. This is a fundamental problem because AI’s buzzword factor has created a misunderstanding of its potential and the incorrect perception that it is ahead of its time.

Nevertheless, people love a good innovation story.

To help put AI into perspective, a useful example is the recent automotive industry shake-up. For almost a decade, Tesla dominated headlines for pioneering electric vehicles and self-driving cars, creating an almost unobtainable futuristic aura. Many auto manufacturers dismissed this disruption and carried on producing gas-powered vehicles with only incremental innovation. We are quickly seeing that the future is progressively becoming more technology-enabled, and the rise of electric-powered vehicles is no exception. Those that are unwilling to change will not succeed. Moreover, those that were slow to change are now behind the market. Despite the hype, Tesla transformed the industry.

Using that analogy, we can say the same for the implementation of AI in the pharmaceutical industry. It has been dismissed by some, but will soon catalyse wider disruption.

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Andrew Radin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aria Pharmaceuticals, a preclinical-stage pharma company discovering and developing novel small-molecule therapies for complex and hard to treat diseases. Andrew created the company’s first drug development algorithms as part of his studies in biomedical informatics at Stanford University in 2014. Since co-founding Aria, Andrew was named an Emerging Pharma Leader by Pharma Executive magazine, was invited to give a TEDMED talk, and was named a Top 100 AI Leader by Deep Knowledge Analytics. Andrew studied Biomedical Informatics in Stanford University’s SCPD graduate programme (US) and holds Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, US.
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