AI drug hunters could give big pharma a run for its money


  • TECH Premium
  • Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019

A hand holding a bunch of pills in an open palm. Have are bottles of medicine as a background.

Machine-learning technology has beaten humans at games of chess and Go to worldwide fanfare. A demonstration of its eerily lifelike prowess in making phone calls to unsuspecting people went viral. 

But a less-noticed win for DeepMind, the artificial-intelligence arm of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc, at a biennial biology conference could upend how drugmakers find and develop new medicines. It could also dial up pressure on the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to prepare for a technological arms race. Already, a new breed of upstarts are jumping into the fray. 

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