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Google AI Could Challenge Big Pharma in Drug Discovery

July 15, 2019, 1:15 PM

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.

Senior Automation Scientist Adam Murray operates Recursion Pharmaceuticals’ automated compound management system. This compound storage system houses over hundreds of thousands of drug candidates that Recursion tests in disease models on a weekly basis.
Source: Recursion Pharmaceuticals

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.

In December, at the CASP13 meeting in Riviera Maya, Mexico, DeepMind...

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