CPHI annual report predicts AI to transform all processes in drug development by 2026

In 2030 over 50% of FDA approvals will involve AI discovered and developed drugs

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New Delhi: The first part of the influential CPHI Annual Report predicts sizeable progress ahead for AI’s use in pharma, as despite the wider excitement around ChatGPT and other generative AI’s having cooled in recent months, pharma’s real-world applications continue to expand.
The implications go far beyond its current use and most startling of all – notwithstanding the so far limited successes – it is expected that within 10-years over 50% of approved drugs will involve AI in their development and/or manufacturing.
The CPHI Report’s AI findings, which are released ahead of CPHI Barcelona, the world’s largest pharma event, held at Fira Barcelona (October 24-26th, 2023), point to the technology having a transformational impact on all parts of drug discovery and development within the next 24-months.
Speaking on the immediate impact to pharma, CPHI Report expert Bikash Chatterjee – and Chief Science Officer, Pharmatech Associates, a USP Company – added: The tools we have today to evaluate genetic material and protein structures are tremendous. As we gather data, the models we use for evaluation within AI will improve and our criteria and insight will become more refined, allowing us to design and direct evaluation models more efficiently. I would agree that we are very near to seeing AI discovered molecules getting approved today—definitely within the next two to five years. In the next decade it is likely most drug therapies will be identified by some element of AI.
The CPHI Report features the insights from 250 global pharma companies and is widely seen as a key barometer of the industry’s future growth prospects. For the first time in the report’s history pharmaceutical ‘AI companies’ (26%) have overtaken ‘late stage’ (20%) and ‘early stage’ (19%) biotechs as the industry’s most appealing investment option for VCs.
Significantly, the rate of change appears to be accelerating, with 62% forecasting that the first fully AI drug discovered and developed therapy will be approved by the FDA within the next 5 years – with 20% believing this can be achieved in under 2-years. Looking further ahead, by 2030, over half (52%) of new drugs approved will be discovered or developed using AI.
In fact, highlighting AI’s evolution and its expected far wider medium-term impact across pharma, it was predicted by executives to be central to all four of the top ranked technologies to breakthrough into ‘routine use’ by pharma in 2026’. Costs are also predicted to be lower as clinical trial designs are improved alongside in silico modelling and manufacturing efficiencies, with even clinical trial patient recruitment benefiting from the technology’s ability to analyse massive datasets. Unsurprisingly, AI’s role in target discovery (60+%) and manufacturing optimisation (52%) remained the most chosen application looking three years ahead, but nearly 43% also envisage it will even help to build base regulatory submissions.
Chatterjee added: Adoption will be fastest – initially – for drug discovery as there are no GMP or compliance requirements and, given the poor success rate of drugs that make it to market, going from 9 out of 10 drugs failing to 8 out of 10 drugs failing would be doubling of current success rates. Its potential impact cannot be overstated.
The CPHI Annual Report 2023 will be available in full on October 23rd, featuring detailed insights from over 10 experts and the CPHI Annual Survey and Country rankings. It will be available here.
“There is no doubt that AI will change ways of working in pharma – we have entire conference tracks on next-gen biomanufacturing and manufacturing 4.0 at CPHI Barcelona 2023, and over the years have seen the conversation shift from potential applications to tangible impact. We are now seeing AI used not only to further improve target discovery – but also to deliver step-change improvements in manufacturing, process efficiencies and clinical trials. In as little as two years our experts predict many companies will have been left behind, with CDMOs having a great incentive to pivot quickly to keep pace with the expectations of their big pharma customers,” added Tara Dougal, Content Director – Pharma at Informa Markets Informa Markets.