Bio pharmaceutical companies globally have come to realise that data will power the efforts to discover new treatments in the future, said Siva Padmanabhan, managing director & head of Global Technology Center, AstraZeneca India.
With several decades’ worth of research data spanning molecules, clinical trials and drug launches, we have a huge potential to answer hitherto unanswered questions using Artificial Intelligence (AI). The first step is to translate the vast amounts of information available in various forms into computable format and the next step will be to unlock the data that resides in the ‘Omics’, Padmanabhan said.
Now omics refers collective technologies used to explore various types of molecules that make up the cells of an organism. These technologies include genomics.
Developing AI in the area of genomics and chemo-informatics focuses on the potential of data predominantly in the DMTA (Design-Make-Test-Analyse) cycle. This is where computational power is used to guide the design of preclinical and clinical experiments leading to improve the R&D success. With Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) too, a large amount of data or petabytes is being analysed to create insights and identify novel targets, he added.
Similarly, in the healthcare sector, use of wearables and tele-health applications is a clear indication of the industry moving towards patient-centric technology such as telemedicine. Telemedicine has provided an opportunity to provide standardised and affordable services to regions that previously had poor access to healthcare.
Now 2019 is the year of pharma 4.0 and India is riding the digitization wave in pharma and healthcare. We sees data, AI, machine learning (ML) and wearables being viewed as opportunities to comprehend the patient requirements. At the same time, from a manufacturing standpoint, digital solutions will become the new game changer to enable scale, accuracy and quicker turnaround, Padmanabhan told Pharmabiz.
With regards to be able to get the right technical prowess to work for the industry needs, Padmanabhan said that until a few years ago, India’s qualified talent pool was more than equipped to cater to the advances in technology in life sciences.
“However, as with all industries, the challenge of adapting technological know-how to functional demands of a life sciences role is more than relevant today. Besides, the shortage in talent can also be attributed to the blurring of lines between tech and non-tech industries, with larger companies lapping up the talent pool,” he said.