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5 Biotech Companies using AI to their advantage

We explain how some of the world leaders in the biotechnology industry are using AI to their benefit

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are being applied broadly in the biotech sector, in areas that include clinical data management, automation of disease prediction and prevention, and biomarker discovery. AI is paving the way for the emergence of a new generation of medical and biotech solutions that are capable of surpassing the analytical skills of the best human minds.

In this article, we explain how some of the world leaders in the biotechnology industry are using AI to their benefit.

Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies is a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets. The company recently announced a partnership with an AI software company, in order to work together on the quality and standardization of tissue diagnostics. The companies' shared goal is to provide specific technologies, products, and services that will improve the standardization of pathology labs and accelerate accurate diagnostics.

Simon Ostergaard, Agilent VP and General Manager of the company's pathology group said, "This partnership is an exciting step in our shared commitment in the fight against cancer. Together we will tackle some of the most critical challenges faced by pathology labs and pave the way toward the fully digitalized lab of the future". Agilent says that digital pathology is the future, enabling laboratories to gradually adopt digital technologies in a flexible and scalable manner.

Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is an American biotechnology company that researches, develops, and commercializes drugs. The company is using an AI-platform of insitro to discover and develop treatments for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). By introducing data-driven discovery and development, the company will transform the way that drugs are discovered and delivered to patients.

John McHutchison, Gilead's Chief Scientist Officer and Head of Research and Development, said in a statement that the collaboration reflected his company's commitment to research and develop treatments for patients living with NASH - particularly those with advanced fibrosis who have the greatest unmet need. McHutchison also stated: "Through this collaboration, we will utilize deep learning to explore the scientific underpinnings of the biology and clinical spectrum of NASH, with the goal of accelerating the development of highly effective treatment options for patients with this disease".

The AI-based platform is designed to drive therapeutic discovery and development by applying Machine Learning, human genetics, and functional genomics to generate and optimize unique in vitro models. The platform will also offer insights into disease progression, suggest candidate targets, and predict patient responses to potential therapeutic interventions - said Gilead's representative in one of its statements.

Genentech

Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company became a subsidiary of Roche - a Swiss multinational healthcare company, in 2009. In June 2017, Genentech, announced a collaboration with GNS Healthcare focusing on cancer therapy.

The companies aimed to use Machine Learning in order to transform high volumes of cancer patient data into computer models that can be used to identify novel targets for cancer therapy. Called GNS REFS ( Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation ), the platform is using causal Machine Learning and simulation to power the development of novel cancer therapies.

The platform will analyze different types of patient's data from medical records, and omic data such as next-generation sequencing in order to execute the simulation. Thanks to AI, the large and diverse patient data will be analyzed in models that reveal new pathways, novel targets, and diagnostic markers that may lead to new treatments that are better matched to individual patients.

Biogen

Biogen is an American multinational company specializing in discovery, development, and delivery of therapies for the treatment of neurological diseases to patients worldwide. Recently Biogen has partnered with an AI company and together created a custom internal search engine that customers reps use to quickly find answers about the company's portfolio of products.

According to Biogen, the benefits are clear: better and faster customer service, by implementing a much-needed support tool on customer service reps. "In the past, if an operator could not find an answer within one minute, the call was escalated to a medical director - costly for Biogen and frustrating for the health care professional".

The AI-based system replaces assembled-over-the-years FAQs, text-heavy documents, and educational materials reps might otherwise have to go through when searching for answers. With the use of natural language processing, an individual can literally type in the exact words a physician is saying and get an answer back quickly.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. In 2018, Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced a three-year collaboration, to use human genetics and Machine Learning to improve discovery of targets of precision medicine, and to understand better the clinical impact of human genetic variation and patient stratification in diseases with unmet need.

By developing a unique analysis engine, the company is using genetics to understand human biology and the safety of potential novel medicines. Scientists from both sides of the partnership, will work together to incorporate their deep understanding of human genetics into research and development related to target discovery and target validation in certain diseases. The goal of the collaboration is to further advance Vertex's efforts to develop transformative precision medicines for people with serious diseases.

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