Moving beyond buzzwords: When will a rising AI tide lift all Big Pharma boats?

[pdusit/Adobe Stock]

For all of the talk about AI in drug discovery and development, few Big Pharmas are putting up big bucks in AI spending. A CRB survey from late 2023 painted a conservative picture: about half of drug developers planned on allocating between $1 and $10 million for data and AI projects over the next two years. A mere 3% reported budgeting more than $50 million. No companies surveyed had budgeted more than $100 million.

By contrast, Microsoft has invested more than $10 billion into OpenAI alone. Amazon invested $4 billion into Anthropic for minority ownership and a board seat, while Google invested $2 billion plus potentially hundreds of millions more into Anthropic and Character AI for AI research and development. In early 2023, IDC projected that cumulative AI spending would reach $154 billion by the end of the year — 27% higher than a year earlier.

While a growing number of pharma and…

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