Half of European and US pharmaceutical companies feel that use of artificial intelligence (AI) can bring new drugs to market in a more rapid and secured way, according to a research.

However, 96 per cent of the drug makers face challenges in using the new technology, the study conducted by Aspen Technology, a global leader in asset optimisation software, showed.

Around 300 pharmaceutical industry decision-makers in the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden took part in the survey.

Nearly 49 per cent of the executives surveyed said their company has no overarching strategy for AI, while 31 per cent felt that high levels of unstructured data make the handling difficult.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent of the lot believed that if drug companies fail to learn and adopt AI and machine learning (ML), they will be in severe financial trouble within next two years.

“Our research shows pharma companies need to act now to tackle their data challenges and implement AI,” said David Leitham, Senior Vice President and General Manager Pharma, AspenTech.

“Advances in AI will relieve the growing pressures on them, built on the ability to break down the barriers between systems and types of data within production processes and supply chains. Organisations must reimagine their digital culture and think more holistically about what data will add across all aspects of drug manufacture,” he said.

The research revealed that companies struggle with data that is held in separate, siloed systems.

Around 28 per cent of the surveyed executives said their companies suffer from a lack of digital skills or a risk-averse culture, which hampers innovation.

Even the advanced, data-driven companies in the research face a problem with risk-averse culture, the research showed.

“There is no shortage of smarter, better ways for pharma companies to use technology,” Leitham said, adding, “Best of all, these solutions are available now, they are being adopted, and they are helping companies get ahead.”

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