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Indian pharma explores Artificial Intelligence to reduce costs & speed up drug to market

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, August 11, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharma industry is looking at Artificial Intelligence (AI) going by its advantages to save on costs and speed to market access with new drugs. Under the Union government’s Digital India Programme, adoption of AI is on the radar of large drug companies in the country. The potential of AI spans from discovery to clinical trials, disease identification, Pharmacovigilance and post marketing surveillance.

A visible trend is integration of Artificial Intelligence in R&D because it facilitates an intuitive interpretation of massive collated data. “We see the need for every Indian pharma, biotech and healthcare provider to adopt AI and remain ahead of the curve,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson, Vision Group on Biotechnology and CMD Biocon.

According to Subhro Mallik, vice president, Life Sciences, Infosys, the application of AI in the life science and pharmaceutical industry is gaining momentum. According to a research titled ‘Amplifying Human Potential – Towards Purposeful AI’, conducted by Infosys,  pharmaceuticals and life science industry leads in AI adoption. AI not only enhances processes and improves efficiencies but also plays a key role in clinical trials, drug analysis and fast-track product launches.

“Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, and as we can see from IBM Watson holds extraordinary potential across the pharma-life sciences value chain. It can bring great benefits to patients, healthcare professionals, regulators and other key stakeholder. We can see also early applications of drug discovery and development, patient diagnosis, care pathways, pricing, supply chain to name a few,” Dr Sujay Shetty, ?partner and leader, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences, Asia Pacific, PwC India told Pharmabiz.

AI brings a radical change to the pharmacovigilance as it helps in patient privacy. The preloaded algorithms can supervise and track the data. AI integrates with the currently used safety databases. It is directed to generate notification and followups of the patients thus enabling regulatory compliance. No matter what format the source document of the case reports are, using technology like optical character recognition, the AI tool helps to translate in different languages and decode the handwritten report forms. Data collected from different sources is transcribed into relevant fields, while simultaneously the coding of the data and integration with the safety database is done, explained Dr Sivakumar BKV, safety lead physician, Indegene.

Therefore, pharma companies should and start implementing AI as it provides immense benefit results. Overall the safety of the patient is important which will not be compromised, he added.

No doubt, AI is revolutionizing many aspects of the pharmaceuticals business. However, it cannot replace human interventions. But, it helps human beings to understand a disease condition much faster and allows physicians to make better decisions. Moreover, AI empowers scientists by enabling them to fail fast and fix errors in their research findings. Understanding the true purpose of AI, which is to amplify human ability and achievement rather than threatening it, will dispel most of the fears surrounding the technology. It brings forth outstanding potential to serve mankind, said Subhro Mallik.


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