Chinese Firms Move to Harness Artificial Intelligence to Speed Drug Development

Chinese biotechnology firms have lagged behind their competitors for years in the use of artificial intelligence technologies. But increasingly, regulatory reforms are making it easier and cheaper for pharmaceutical companies in China to harness a vast trove of data collected from Chinese patients to design new, innovative drug products.


Also helping artificial intelligence gain traction in China are the country’s large population, massive hospitals, and relatively lax privacy laws. Starting in 2018, the government launched an ambitious push to develop artificial intelligence drug research pathways. Since then, major Chinese drug firms have taken notice. In recent months three such companies raised large sums to drive the use of artificial intelligence in the design and development of new products. Their goal is to overtake multinational pharmaceutical companies based in the United States and Europe in using data to develop new drug technologies.