Dr. Talia Cohen Solal uses a microscope to examine human brain cells that have been cultured in a petri dish up close.
The brain is extraordinarily nuanced, intricate, and lovely, she claims.
Israeli health technology company Genetika+’s co-founder and CEO is neuroscientist Dr. Cohen Solal.
The company, which was founded in 2018, claims that its algorithm can best match antidepressants to patients, avoiding unpleasant side effects and ensuring that the recommended medication functions as effectively as possible.
Dr. Cohen Solal continues, “We can identify the appropriate medication for each patient the first time.”
Genetika+ achieves this by integrating cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) software with stem cell technology, which involves the growth of particular human cells.
Its technicians are capable of producing brain cells from a patient’s blood sample. These are then subjected to various antidepressants while “biomarkers” of cellular alterations are being monitored.
An AI system processes this data along with a patient’s genetic information and medical history to choose the most appropriate medication and dose for a doctor to prescribe.
The technology is still in the development stage, but Tel Aviv-based Genetika+ plans to make a commercial debut the following year.
The startup is an illustration of how AI is increasingly being used in the pharmaceutical industry and has received financing from the European Research Council and European Innovation Council of the European Union. Additionally, Genetika+ collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to create novel, precise medicines.
Future demand for the company’s products is something they are hoping for. The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 280 million depressed people in the world.
Additionally, it has long been believed that nearly two thirds of initial prescriptions for depression or anxiety may not be effective, even if taking antidepressants is undoubtedly not the best course of action for everyone.
According to Dr. Heba Sailem, AI has a significant potential to alter the global pharmaceutical business, which is expected to produce $1.4 trillion (£1.1tn) in revenue by 2021.
At King’s College London, a senior lecturer in biomedical AI and data science, she claims that AI has so far aided in everything from “identifying a potential target gene for treating a certain disease, and discovering a new drug, to improving patient treatment by predicting the best treatment strategy, discovering biomarkers for personalised patient treatment, or even prevention of the disease through early detection of signs for its occurrence.”
The series “New Tech Economy” examines how technological advancement is expected to influence the new, developing economic landscape.
However, according to a different AI expert, Calum Chace, the adoption of AI in the pharmaceutical industry is still “a slow process”.
According to Mr. Chace, who is the author of several books about AI, “Pharma companies are huge, and any significant change in the way they do research and development will affect many people in different divisions.”
“It’s challenging to get everyone to agree to a fundamentally different way of doing things, in part because senior people rose to their positions by following the established norms.
They are accustomed to it and believe it. Additionally, if the value of what they can accomplish suddenly declines, they can worry that they will become less useful to the company.
Dr. Sailem emphasizes that the pharmaceutical industry should take great precautions before depending on AI predictions and that it should resist the temptation to use AI too quickly.
According to her, “An AI model can learn the correct answer for the incorrect reasons, and it is the researchers’ and developers’ responsibility to make sure that various measures are employed to avoid biases, especially when trained on patient data.”
Insilico Medicine, based in Hong Kong, is utilizing AI to hasten the drug discovery process.
“Our AI platform is capable of identifying existing drugs that can be re-purposed, designing new drugs for known disease targets, or finding brand-new targets and designing brand-new molecules,” explains co-founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov.
Its most advanced medication, a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is currently undergoing clinical trials.
According to Mr. Zhavoronkov, it generally takes a new treatment four years to reach that stage; however, Insilico Medicine did so “in under 18 months, for a fraction of the cost.”
The company also has 31 more medications in various stages of research, he continues.
In Israel, Dr. Cohen Solal claims that AI can “solve the mystery” of how certain medications function.