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In the midst of the growing interest surrounding the potential use of Artificial Intelligence in the development of drugs, GlaxoSmithKline has recently announced that it has signed a deal worth $43 million with Scotland-based artificial intelligence startup Exscientia. GSK also struck a deal earlier this year with the US Department of Energy and National Institute to accelerate drug development with the help of advanced technologies.

AI-Assisted Drug Discovery

Other pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi, Merck & Co, and Johnson & Johnson has reportedly been trying out and experimenting with the possibility of using artificial intelligence in the development and discovery of new drugs. Other companies and pharmaceutical start-ups have also ventured into the application of AI in drug research. Some of them are American firms such as Numerate, Berg, Atomwise, and twoXAR.

This aims to utilize the capability of modern supercomputers and machine learnings systems how certain molecules react and how they will be useful in drug development. This will allow pharmaceuticals to cut costs, save money and time, and avoid doing excessive and unnecessary tests.

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In a statement, Exscientia chief executive Andrew Hopkins stated that the collaboration would enable the company to venture into “new discovery programmes with nominated targets”. The statement added that the funding which will be provided by GSK will apply its AI enabled platform to GSK’s expertise in a drug discovery collaboration for up to ten disease-related targets from multiple therapeutic areas. Any preclinical milestones in the research will guarantee a £33 million payment from GSK.

According to Hopkins, Exscientia artificial intelligence system would allow them to potentially deliver drug candidates in less than one quarter and at one-quarter of the costs compared to their traditional approaches.

Although the technology has not been fully proven in recent ventures, more and more high-tech solutions are being incorporated into daily research and development every day. The lesser costs of using AI instead of usual methods can also offset any losses that can be incurred in the development process.

Other GSK Ventures

Currently, the company is predicted to be the world’s biggest vaccine maker in the next six years due to its meningitis B shot Bexsero and it's soon to be released Shingrix shingles vaccine which is forecasted to drive in $1 billion in sales every year starting 2022.  The drug-maker also currently offers a 4.51% dividend payout which is one of the biggest compared to its other competitors.

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