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Spoonful of Technology

We highlight four emerging pieces of technology that are set to enhance the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to deliver value for patients. These examples of game-changing innovations are revolutionising all areas of pharma, from computer simulated clinical trials to 3D printed polypills.


Atomwise is just one of the many companies utilising AI to predict which drugs are most suitable for specific conditions. The University of Toronto and IBM partnered with Atomwise to utilise their AI algorithm to identify two drugs that reduce Ebola infectivity. Their analysis of the data was undertaken in less than 1 day: a process that usually takes months or years to complete. Expedited analysis results in lower costs and quicker access for patients.


Drug trials that utilise computer simulated organs, or in silico, have the opportunity to cut out the need for animal and human trials, providing significant time and money savings. While the technology still needs further development, there are some companies that are making great progress in this realm: HumMod has created a simulation that is described as ‘the most complete, mathematical model of human physiology ever created’.


3D printing continues to make waves in the industry, offering the possibility for patients to one day print their medications from the comfort of their own homes. Researchers are now developing multi-layered polypills: 3D printed personalised pills which contain several different drugs in one. This technology has the potential to improve drug adherence and management, while helping patients to take control and ownership of their treatment.


The use of robotics in the drug supply chain is shortening time-to-market considerably, saving money, and ensuring patients have access to new treatments more rapidly. Denso Robotics is one such company offering sterile robotic exoskeletons to enhance manual labour capabilities, with the bots providing heavy load and standing assistance. This makes the manufacturing process more efficient and reduces strain on supply chain staff.

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