21/03/2022 · 3 minutes read
Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed the life sciences industry in ways that we could never have imagined. It now impacts each stage of a life science product’s lifecycle — from research and drug discovery to clinical trials, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, marketing, and sales. Recognising the potential benefits, industry leaders across the world have increased investment in AI, with the global AI healthcare market expected to grow from US$4.9 billion in 2020 to US$45.2 billion by 2026.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified focus on the application of AI across the entire value chain. While companies from all industries adapted to the “new normal” of daily remote collaboration and AI technologies, life science companies also leaned more heavily into the use of AI in their mainstay work of drug and medicine development and marketing. The development and bringing to market of COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year is testament to the power of AI, as well as the remarkable collaboration of industry stakeholders.
Post-pandemic, there is no doubt that the industry is primed to harness new ways of working with new technologies. However, with these opportunities comes new risks. The increased use and application of AI in life sciences inevitably raises questions as to its impact on the legal and regulatory risk landscape.
As one of the most highly regulated industry sectors in which there is a particularly close relationship between product safety and health outcomes, life sciences has traditionally, and understandably, approached the adoption of new AI-driven technologies with a large degree of caution. In spite of this, the sector has now embraced the innovation due to the wealth of opportunities for AI application. Companies are beginning to use AI to automate existing processes across the entire life sciences value chain, including the following:
Owing to the industry’s adoption of AI, it has been at the forefront of developing mechanisms to deal with any potential negative impacts that may arise from its use, such as cybersecurity protections. This reflects a general trend where new technologies are often being used and regulated first within the life sciences sector with other sectors, such as consumer products, following suit.
In the next article of our Artificial Intelligence in Life Sciences – Revolution, Risk, and Regulation series, we will cover some of the key risks associated with the use of AI in life sciences.
Chemicals and Life Sciences Industry Leader, UK & Ireland
Corporate Affairs Lawyer, Kennedys