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The Impacts of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on the Life Sciences Industry

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are having a dramatic impact on the life sciences industry. Many major life sciences companies have either partnered with an AI startup or acquired one. Many life sciences professionals have experimented with AI technologies in the workplace at one time or another. So why all the excitement?

Perhaps the best answer has to do with AI-powered drug discovery. The time to develop a new drug can run anywhere from 10-15 years, and the costs of gaining final approval from regulators can be staggering. By one estimate, pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the U.S. spend $75 billion annually on R&D to develop new drugs. The primary appeal of AI is a way to dramatically shorten the development cycle and also reduce the cost of getting approval.

And here is where AI and machine learning technologies really excel, because they are very good at making sense of incomprehensible amounts of data. Not only can they detect trends in a sea of data, but also they can predict the outcomes of trials with stunning accuracy.

Another key area for machine learning and AI technology in the life sciences industry involves greater drug personalization. It’s not just that AI-powered machines can find potential drug solutions faster and cheaper – they can also find solutions that are completely personalized and customized to a specific user. Machine learning really enhances the overall R&D process by being able to predict drug performance. Think about all the warnings on medications or treatments: depending on unique genetic code and physical condition, medication will likely impact you differently than it does someone else. And that’s where AI can make a huge difference – by personalizing medicine based on your unique identity at the molecular level, it can improve the overall treatment process.

And, of course, AI and machine learning can play a very important role in patient diagnostics. UK researchers at Oxford, for example, have used AI systems to diagnose heart disease and lung cancer faster than human practitioners can. One of the keys here is the ability of machine learning algorithms to study images and learn what a “healthy” person looks like and what a “sick” person looks like. Over time, the algorithm actually learns how to detect early warning signals of potential sickness just by studying images of a heart or a pair of lungs.

Just about any data-rich process within the life sciences industry can be made better through the use of machine learning and AI technologies. AI systems can collect, analyze and integrate text and data from just about any source. And they are also becoming much better at analyzing unstructured data that even humans might have a hard time analyzing. Thanks to AI and machine learning, the life sciences industry should see an accelerated pace of innovation in 2019 and beyond. That’s good news for people everywhere if it can bring down the cost of healthcare and lead to more effective treatments and possibly even cures.

To learn more about how you can incorporate intelligent technologies such as AI and ML into your business, contact Crescense today!

The Impact of Software and Digital Transformation on the Life Sciences Industry

At a faster rate than ever before in history, the life sciences industry is experiencing unprecedented technological change, primarily due to the blurring of the line between “life sciences” and “technology.” As a result, every new technological breakthrough, in fields ranging from AI and machine learning to DNA sequencing and genomics, has contributed to the ongoing digital transformation of the life sciences industry.

Of course, ever since the launch of the modern software industry in the mid-1970s , technology has had a significant impact on the way companies in the life sciences industry operate. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, for example, made it possible to coordinate sophisticated supply chains spanning multiple countries (and even continents). Sales force automation software made it possible for pharmaceutical companies to transform the selling ability of their sales teams. And nearly every aspect of the life sciences industry was made better, faster and more efficient by the introduction of new software that enabled different units of the enterprise to “talk” with one another. That, in turn, helped to speed up the R&D cycle, improve the overall quality of healthcare, and spur new breakthroughs in the way we treat infectious and chronic disease.

You can think of that phase as the first round of digital transformation in the life sciences industry. It largely fulfilled vision of famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who once famously opined that “software is eating the world.” What he had in mind was a brave new world where every process, every operation and every aspect of industries would be transformed by software. But even visionaries like Marc Andreessen could not anticipate what happened next.

The next wave of digital transformation involved the introduction of the cloud, Big Data, mobile devices and the Internet of Things. Each of these huge technological breakthroughs had a tremendous impact on the future growth trajectory of the life sciences industry. The cloud, for example, made it possible for doctors on one side of the world to analyze data from patients located in another part of the world in near real-time. Big Data meant that doctors and medical professionals had more patient data than ever before to come up with cures and treatments, while R&D professionals had many more insights into how to develop the next Miracle Drug.

That brings us to the situation today, where big digital trends like the cloud, Big Data, and mobile have already transformed life sciences companies. But now comes an even more exciting era, brought on by technological innovations in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Already, there are AI-powered supercomputers capable of diagnosing patients and disease symptoms almost as well as today’s top medical professionals. It is only a matter of time before a “trip to the doctor’s office” means hooking up with an AI-powered online avatar that you communicate with via your smartphone. Moreover, the Internet of Things is leading to the development of innovations like “digital pills” that can track and monitor your body from inside once you consume them.

For the past half-century, the impact of software and digital transformation on the life sciences industry has truly been profound. The blurring of the line between the life sciences and tech industries is only going to intensify in the future.  SAP’s intelligent software solutions are helping life sciences organizations with transformation that will allow them to thrive in the digital age.  Contact us to learn more!