Glaxo: AI will be a game changer for medicine
Warnings about the potential threats from artificial intelligence (AI) technology have been pouring in abundantly and rapidly from a wide range of industries.
But the use of cutting-edge AI could benefit us all by dramatically accelerating the development of new drugs at a “game-changing” time for the sector, according to one of Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical firms.
GlaxoSmithKline has begun using AI, which recently rose to prominence amid the growing popularity of websites like ChatGPT, to make its medical treatments more personalized to individual patients, which in turn can increase the effectiveness of medications. .
Through its network of AI centers around the world, the largest of which is near King’s Cross station in London, the company’s scientists are also using AI to help speed up clinical trials.
Most trials involve a process at the outset during which researchers review mountains of anonymous medical data to identify patients likely to respond well to a new treatment for diseases such as cancer.
Effective: GlaxoSmithKline has started using AI to make its medical treatments more personalized to individual patients
These recruitment efforts are often the longest part of the drug development process, but GSK said the use of AI has enabled it to analyze massive amounts of data, making some parts of the clinical trial procedure up to five times faster. .
AI has also been found to be useful in increasing the chances that a new drug will be successful in treating patients.
For example, in developing a new drug to treat chronic hepatitis B, a disease with no cure that kills nearly 900,000 people each year, GSK said it took data from a previous trial and used AI to identify five different patient groups. and predict how they would respond to a new drug. This could increase the chances of success up to seven times.
In the lab, AI is used to help GSK scientists assess hundreds of potential root causes of a disease in the time it previously took to assess just one.
Kim Branson, GSK’s head of AI, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘AI is changing the game for drug discovery. Our research teams used to look at potential drug targets individually, but now they can look at hundreds at a time.
“We have already been able to use AI to reduce the time it takes to recruit patients for clinical trials, process much more data than a human can process, and classify patients to predict their response to potential treatment.”
GSK is not the only British company bringing AI to the pharmaceutical industry. London-based AIM-listed Poolbeg Pharma is using it to analyze data from patients infected with flu with the aim of developing treatments to make the symptoms of the disease less severe.
Poolbeg’s chief executive, Jeremy Skillington, said: “Many biotech companies are now linking up with tech companies and joining forces to bring biology and chemistry into the world of technology and computers.” This is where AI has reached a very interesting crossroads where it can apply supercomputers to understand biology.”
He added: “Once people see that AI will save time, save cost, improve their risk ratio, then the pharmaceutical industry will be involved because they are all looking for new drugs, new targets and new drugs.”
The use of AI in the pharmaceutical industry is likely to boost the economy as Britain positions itself as a life sciences superpower and a hub for global AI development.
It also provides hope for the UK to rejuvenate its status as a hub for clinical trials and drug creation, which has won praise for developing Covid vaccines.