Robotics is the next great pharma enabler

The pharmaceutical industry is investing in robotics to increase the speed and success of drug discovery.

14 September 2022

As pharmaceutical companies continue to explore using artificial intelligence (AI) in drug discovery, they are also taking a step into robotics.

With robots running labs and performing experiments faster than humans could alone, there are more reproducible, high-quality data points which strengthen AI's ability for hypothesis creation as well validation through experimentation, leading towards new treatments coming onto the market sooner where patients will benefit from them.

The pharmaceutical and drug discovery industry is expected to grow from $2.05 billion in 2019, hitting a high of $4.87 by 2023, according to Analytics Insights, as these companies strive toward solving major roadblocks like slow speed, high cost and poor reproducibility, all of which prevent successful novel drug findings with excessive failure rates in the final stages.

The cost to bring a drug from discovery through approval can be over $1 billion and take over ten years. Even when drugs do make it into clinical trials, 90% fail.

Through AI, pharma companies can speed up this process. Artificial intelligence identifies patterns from vast amounts of data incredibly quickly and precisely and they can even predict the outcomes of a test or trial before running it, increasing the amount of time spent on the most likely candidates.

An AI's predictive capability is directly related to the amount and quality of data it can access. The more data, the better. Robotic labs are the last piece of the puzzle in tech-enabled drug discovery processes, with robots able to run experiments and produce data faster and far more accurately than humans to better train AI systems.

One company already running a robotics-enabled, AI-powered drug discovery lab is Arctoris. We met Arctoris last year and featured them on the Curated blog. Earlier this year, Arctoris expanded its partnership with Canadian drug discovery business Cyclica to progress drug discovery programs focusing on Alzheimer's disease.

Cyclica and Arctoris have long-term plans for their partnership as discussions are already underway about tackling additional therapeutic targets after an initial engagement that yielded positive results for oncology and neurodegenerative disease targets.

“Cyclica’s platform and capabilities in combination with the biological assay development of Arctoris will enable us to yield meaningful results and advance research development for patients suffering from Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative diseases. The potential of combining our two specialities is very promising and we are extremely optimistic about the impact this partnership is expected to have on patients” Naheed Kurji, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Cyclica

The future of drug discovery and development is here. Robotic labs equipped with state-of-the-art technology are exploring new compounds that could revolutionize healthcare forever.

To find out more about Arctoris, please get in touch.

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