How biologists of the future could displace some data scientists in drug development

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A decade ago, data scientist seemed like the sexiest job of the 21st century, to paraphrase an influential Harvard Business Review article.

In the pharmaceutical industry, data science certainly continues to have tremendous potential, but in years to come, data-savvy biologists could have as least as much of an impact on drug development as data scientists, according to David Harel, co-founder and president of Cytoreason, which has developed a computational disease model for drug developers.

“We call this the biologist of the future,” Harel said, referring to biologists with significant data science training received either in academia or on the job.

The consulting firm Gartner has espoused a similar idea, which it terms a citizen data science to refer to workers outside of statistics and analytics who create data science models based on predictive or prescrip…

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Q&A: Keys to unlock data science potential for drug discovery

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For all of its promise in healthcare and elsewhere, deploying artificial intelligence is frequently a challenging endeavor. “Close collaboration between data science teams, other project team members and stakeholders is essential,” said Jennifer Bradford, director of data science at Phastar, the London-headquartered contract research organization. While input from computational, statistical or medical experts could be essential to inform data science models, all stakeholders understand the requirements and are working “in sync with the project,” Branford said.

In the following interview, Bradford shares advice on how to collaborate effectively on data science projects, the impact of COVID-19 on data science in pharma and the potential for AI to accelerate R&D timelines. 

What comes next after alignment between different stakeholders on data science projects is confirmed? <…

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