Sanofi, one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies, is betting big on artificial intelligence (AI) and expects it to play a more dominant role in the drug industry over the next decade, according to CEO Paul Hudson. The appeal of AI lies in its ability to accelerate the timeline for drug development, which has become increasingly important as companies face pressure from the Inflation Reduction Act, which allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
AI has the potential to significantly impact the drug development timeline by enabling companies to conduct multiple studies in parallel. This is particularly beneficial for companies pursuing multiple uses for the same medication, as it allows them to more efficiently study different indications at once. By relieving the burden on scientists, AI can streamline the drug development process and increase the probability of success.
Sanofi has made a number of investments in AI-focused pharmaceutical companies, including a $5.2 billion deal with Exscientia, a cancer biotech, a $1.2 billion deal with Atomwise, an AI drug discovery company, and a $180 million investment in French startup Owkin. The company aims to become the first at-scale AI pharmaceutical company and is focused on disruptive innovation.
While AI’s ability to speed up drug discovery was demonstrated during the pandemic by smaller biotech company Moderna, Sanofi’s transformation requires a two-pronged approach. The first is incorporating AI into the drug discovery and pipeline, while the second involves introducing AI as part of the daily workflow. Hudson refers to this approach as “snackable AI,” which aims to gradually familiarize users with the technology.
Sanofi launched an app called plai in June, which collects data and insights internally for its employees worldwide. The app enables the company to summarize and synthesize insights from text and archives, making it more effective in its operations. This move marks the company’s commitment to becoming a leading AI pharmaceutical company.
In conclusion, Sanofi recognizes the potential of AI to revolutionize the drug industry. By leveraging the power of AI, the company aims to accelerate drug discovery and make the drug development process more efficient. With its recent investments and initiatives, Sanofi is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the integration of AI in pharmaceuticals and hopes to lead the way in this transformative field.