Technology Life | Artificial Intelligence and Drug Discovery

6 min readJun 5, 2020

With the continuous advancement of artificial intelligence, we have gradually seen the application of artificial intelligence in the education, service, finance, and medical industries, and our lives are gradually moving towards simplicity and intelligence. In the drug development industry, the development of mental health drugs often requires a lot of time because of the need to provide multiple treatment options for different types of people. With the advent of artificial intelligence-assisted and efficient drug discovery technology, the efficacy can be greatly improved.

Changes in large pharmaceutical companies

Over the past decade, large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have been buying innovative products from small companies instead of continuing to maintain a large and expensive R&D team because they find that their internal R&D team often cannot achieve what they want result. According to the news, 81% of these companies’ most innovative products were originally discovered by third parties.
This means that competition among smaller third-party companies will be fierce, and costs will inevitably become a problem. Artificial intelligence will give these small companies a huge advantage in the field of drug research and development, which may lead to the rapid application of artificial intelligence in drug discovery.

How does artificial intelligence help?

According to research, there are approximately 240 million compounds in the PubChem database (a chemical module database). Can you imagine combining these compounds to design new drugs? The resulting combinations are endless. This also means that artificial intelligence must be mature enough to handle these big data intelligently.
Currently, with the help of recurrent neural networks, you can generate chemical structures based on rules, but you need to know where to locate these RNNs (recurrent neural networks) to make them effective.
Of course, human intervention is inevitable. A team of pharmaceutical chemists and structural biologists can determine the direction of research, guide artificial intelligence tools, and make decisions in this process.




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