Pharma Focus Asia

Merck Introduces Innovative AI Solution for Seamless Integration of Drug Discovery and Synthesis

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has recently unveiled its groundbreaking AIDDISON™ drug discovery software. This marks the introduction of the first-ever software-as-a-service platform that bridges the gap between virtual molecule design and real-world manufacturability through the integration of SynthiaTM retrosynthesis software application programming interface (API).

The platform utilizes generative AI, machine learning, and computer-aided drug design to expedite drug development. Trained on validated datasets from over two decades of pharmaceutical R&D, the AIDDISON™ software identifies compounds from a vast pool of possibilities, focusing on key properties crucial for successful drugs, such as non-toxicity, solubility, and stability in the body. Subsequently, the platform proposes optimal methods for synthesizing these identified drugs.

Karen Madden, Chief Technology Officer of the Life Science business sector at Merck, emphasized the platform's significance, stating, "With millions of people eagerly awaiting the approval of new medicines, bringing a drug to market still takes, on average, more than 10 years and costs over 1.9 billion Euros. Our platform empowers any laboratory to leverage generative AI in identifying the most suitable drug-like candidates within a vast chemical space. This facilitates the development of a target molecule through the most sustainable chemical synthesis route."

Drug discovery is a protracted, iterative process, with only about 10% of candidates progressing from Phase I to market. Identifying the most suitable chemical compound from a colossal universe of molecules demands substantial time, resources, and expertise. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, exemplified by AIDDISON™ software, have the potential to extract hidden insights from extensive datasets, significantly enhancing the success rate of delivering new therapies to patients. Projections indicate that AI could contribute over US$70 billion in savings for the drug discovery process by 2028, potentially reducing time and costs for drug discovery in pharmaceutical companies by up to 70%.

Merck, a globally diversified science and technology company, holds leading positions in life science, healthcare, and electronics. The company leverages key synergies to drive forward-looking innovation, combining expertise in small molecules, biologics, and new modalities with AI and digital tools. By aligning bioconvergent technologies, knowledge, and strategic partnerships, Merck aims to utilize AI, automation, and other digital tools to expedite the delivery of improved therapies to patients.



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