Moving beyond pilot purgatory: Scaling AI in drug discovery projects

3D representation of the HTLV-1 intasome (a type of nucleoprotein complex) structure as visualized through cryo-electron microscopy. [Adobe Stock]

The topic of AI in drug discovery and development may continue to garner significant attention, but harnessing AI effectively requires a nuanced strategy, and an ability to navigate between details and the bigger picture.

Andrew Anderson, vice president of innovation and informatics strategy at ACD/Labs, likens it to boiling water. “On a small scale, it’s straightforward. But boiling a tanker cart full of water? That’s a different ballgame,” he said. 

Thinking through these aspects is vital to address the ‘pilot-purgatory’ problem, which frequently arises in projects involving emerging technology. As a growing number of drug developers launch proof-of-concept AI projects, a significant number are struggling to scale them. “There’s a stru…

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Sanofi puts AI ‘Plai’ app at the center of drug discovery and clinical trial operations

[Keitma/Adobe Stock]

The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has unveiled a new AI-powered app called Plai, developed in partnership with AI platform Aily Labs. This move is part of Sanofi’s plan to become the pioneer in fully integrating AI into all operations, according to CEO Paul Hudson.

Plai, designed to compile and process Sanofi’s internal data from various departments, creates bespoke “what if” scenarios to guide decision-making. Sanofi aims to exploit Plai’s analytical capabilities to enhance strategic planning.

From ChatGPT and Google Maps to Plai

Sanofi’s AI aspirations are longstanding. In 2022, the company launched its inaugural digital accelerator, supporting the adoption of digital, data and AI across operations. That same year, Sanofi acquired Amunix Pharmaceuticals, tapping its AI technology to develop targeted cancer therapies that spare healthy tissue.…

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