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ML revives faltering drug discovery by using data to decode biology
By Simone Castello  |  Apr 20, 2023
ML revives faltering drug discovery by using data to decode biology
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Biology studies all organisms, including deadly pathogens which cause pandemics and become resistant to antibiotics. The data revolution now underway is also impacting biology, and ML holds the answers to some of its mysteries, as digital marketing expert Simone Castello relates.

CAMBRIDGE, UK - Biology is fascinating: It is ubiquitous, and every living creature is a part of it. Biology is the study of life and shows how the human body and other living organisms function. Biological science helps people live, thrive, and survive. It plays a critically important role in medicine, but is also complex, impossible to rationalize, and thus a headache for scientists.

Plight of antibiotic drug discovery

Antibiotic drug discovery has failed to keep up with resistance, causing a major healthcare issue. Antibiotic resistance is responsible for the deaths of 1.27 million people each year, per an article the authoritative medical journal The Lancet published in February 2022.1 This makes it a bigger killer than either HIV/AIDS (863,000 annual deaths), or malaria (643,000 annual deaths).

To bring this number down, rapid, comprehensive change is needed. This means new antibacterial solutions are urgently required, and currently available antibiotics need to be overhauled because, as things currently stand, doctors are running out of options to treat certain diseases.

Furthermore, the drug discovery industry is facing severe challenges, including a decline in research and development productivity, increased drug development costs, and drops in sales. Many drugs do not even reach the market: Nearly 50 percent of drugs fail during phase 2 or phase 3 clinical testing because of inefficacy in programs that cost many billions of dollars. This then creates a vicious cycle, because as commercialized drugs deliver less value to patients, sales drop even further.

Shooting-star tech

Oppilotech, a startup, has the slogan, ‘Navigating Biology, Discovering Drugs,’ that encapsulates its mission of assembling detailed biochemical

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