Clinical operations function makes the highest use of artificial intelligence (AI) (61%), followed by pharmacovigilance/safety/risk management (57%), and information technology (IT) (55%), according to an analysis recently completed by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The analysis, summarized in the May/June Tufts CSDD Impact Report, reveals the pharmaceutical industry is adopting artificial intelligence (AI) on numerous fronts, from discovery and clinical development to risk assessment and safety monitoring, regulatory, and manufacturing.
Widespread Adoption of AI in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries
“Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as service providers now rely on AI technologies across all therapeutic areas, including most strongly for oncology, central nervous system, cardiovascular, immunology, rare diseases, and metabolic/endocrine diseases,” said Mary Jo Lamberti, research assistant professor and associate director of sponsored research at Tufts CSDD, who led the analysis.
The advent of precision medicine and targeted therapies, as well as increasing demand for new treatments for rare diseases, will drive further, likely exponential, growth, she said, especially as health authorities and industry develop standard policies and a regulatory framework to address concerns such as ethical use, bias, and validation.
Report Key Findings
Despite the widespread and growing embrace of AI in drug development, lack of adequate staff skills, difficulty in adapting unstructured data and insufficient budgets remain major challenges to adopting AI, according to Tufts CSDD. Respondents to the survey reported that AI implementation is not centrally managed at their companies (41%), while 20% indicated that it is managed by R&D and 12% said that it is overseen by the chief information officer. Over half (58%) of respondents plan to expand AI staff through 2020, with the largest staffing increases slated for data scientists, computer scientists, IT specialists, and AI architects.
Survey Background Methodology
The survey generated responses from 402 industry professionals working for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, contract research organizations, technology/data providers, and other organizations in North America (61%), Europe (23%), Asia Pacific (11%), Latin America (2%), and Rest of World (3 %).