Expanding the life sciences territory with AI

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Life sciences companies are rapidly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to become more agile and insight-driven. With today’s cloud software systems and AI applications, you can benefit from AI to deliver research results sooner and with greater confidence. Sikich life sciences technology and expertise helps make this happen.

In the life sciences industry, companies gather, store, analyze, and share large amounts of data related to pharmaceutical research, scientific-publication discovery, drug development, patients and health records, compliance, and more. Increasingly, data support the biomedical research and innovation of these firms. In distributed, lean organizations, medical specialists, researchers, and data scientists could be almost anywhere, collaborating with their teams and colleagues through digital channels. For these innovators and their organizations, it’s important to stay focused on those  research efforts with the most promise for saving and changing lives. These conditions make a strong case for the use of AI running in always-on, cloud-based infrastructures to enable and accelerate research and business processes.

Increasing momentum for AI

AI already supports a wide variety of research and compliance needs in life sciences companies. More life sciences and contract research organizations (CRO) are rapidly adopting AI as they see the opportunities it can offer. In the U.S., the life sciences market for AI was valued at $902.1 million in 2019, and industry experts expected it to grow at a compound annual growth rate of at least 21.1 percent between 2019 and 2024.

When analysts recently surveyed life sciences companies, they found that 62 percent of these organizations were advancing AI initiatives as part of their strategy, with many of them accelerating AI deployments in response to changed conditions during the global pandemic. They also observed that some life science businesses in recent times expanded the types of data sources, for instance by including ancillary data from wearable devices or social media. That not only increases the volumes of information that need to be stored and safeguarded, but also improves the potential of innovation and discovery.

Life sciences companies are finding success in using AI, often with an emphasis on machine learning, to speed up research and drug development. Some aim to get closer to five years to move a new product from discovery to launch, instead of the seven to 10 years this generally takes. Others use AI applications to identify highly promising reagents and antibodies, shortening the discovery time of the right antibodies for a certain condition to roughly 10 minutes instead of as long as a day.

Companies are also taking advantage of AI algorithms to reduce the length of drug development processes, taking only 12 to 18 months instead of as much as five years to determine whether a molecule should be considered for continuing research. Enabling greater velocity together with improved accuracy, some life sciences organizations rely on AI to support patient recruitment, calculate ideal sample sizes, and minimize data errors.

Improving the results of biomedical research and life sciences operations

Improved speeds and efficiencies are not the only AI outcomes for life sciences companies. Considering relevant data more broadly and from a greater variety of sources helps researchers and scientists gain a more holistic perspective and make better decisions based on insight. Companies can reduce the overall risk of research-driven innovation and achieve higher-quality outcomes from their product development.

Some life sciences firms make use of AI to help them analyze disease mechanisms, support the development of new drugs with an enhanced understanding of how drug candidates interact with proteins, or improve the design of preclinical and clinical research experiments. To stay ahead of the competition and close research gaps, companies deploy AI applications to review and analyze scientific and commercial publications or discover similarities between diseases.

For life sciences companies, compliance with applicable regulatory mandates can be a costly and complex effort, especially when they run research projects in different countries. Here, too, AI proves its value. For example, some organizations run AI applications that are capable of linguistic analysis to automatically identify words, phrases, and data patterns which must be removed or made anonymous in their documentation and clinical submissions. AI can vastly improve the accuracy of this activity while also reducing the cost and risk of compliance.

Rapid onramp to life science-ready AI

If your life sciences organization is not yet putting AI to work, it’s probably worth investigating what it could help you accomplish—especially if your competitors are already generating desirable outcomes with AI or if you are aware of compelling opportunities.

Bringing AI into your life sciences business does not need to be an experiment that comes with a high level of uncertainty. In the Sikich practice, we have for years assisted life sciences companies adopt AI-enhanced technology successfully. We frequently implement for our life sciences clients an industry-optimized version of NetSuite, the cloud ERP system that has been so widely adopted by innovative, intelligence-driven companies. Our solution, SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences, comes with such capabilities as SOX compliance controls; SEC, multinational, and multicompany reporting; and dashboards and KPIs to help you steer the business and its research operations. For CROs, we can deploy another variant of NetSuite, called SuiteSuccess for CRO.

When you choose Sikich SuiteSuccess, you gain the benefit of the AI capabilities that are built into NetSuite, sometimes referred to collectively as the Intelligent Cloud Suite. NetSuite continues to invest in AI, bringing more AI capabilities to such areas as managing supply chain risk, automating financial closes, improving bank reconciliations, and others. This mature AI technology gives you a solid, proven foundation for AI that can enable a higher level of insight, better business decisions, and time-saving, automated workflows. We refine and extend this functionality for life sciences companies, so AI can—for example—help you comply with HIPAA and other regulatory mandates, direct investments for best possible returns, or forecast the efficacy of new medications with a high level of certainty.

Resources for sustained success

Sikich has both the life sciences industry and the technical expertise to help you move to a more scalable, powerful business management platform for unleashing the benefits of AI. With a track record of dozens of successful implementations of SuiteSuccess, we can get you operating effectively in the cloud very quickly, without disrupting team productivity or work in progress. From beginning to end, deployments of SuiteSuccess can also take place in the cloud, with virtual meetings and interactions, safeguarding both team members’ health and sensitive data. You can go ahead anytime with your SuiteSuccess project managed by Sikich—no need to wait for the end of the pandemic.

We can collaborate with you to review how the company’s processes run and suggest any optimizations before you go live on SuiteSuccess. Because any important software project entails changes in how people and teams work, we help you manage internal communications and solution adoption by the people whose jobs can become easier and more productive with SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences.

For some life sciences companies, it can be challenging to recruit and retain talented people who are biomedical research and scientific professionals and also understand AI. Consulting, training, and management services from Sikich can help you mitigate a shortage of AI expertise in your organization and still reap the benefits of AI and machine learning.

Next steps

When want to explore how AI and cloud ERP could make a difference in your life sciences business:

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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