Japan Plans to Use AI Technology in Drug Development

Globally, companies have been using the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the drug development process. Due to Japan’s slow drug discovery process, the health ministry plans to make AI technology available to pharmaceutical companies to streamline drug development. The government will start developing a self-learning AI technology in fiscal year 2017 at the National institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, and hopes to complete development in a few years. The AI will be used in a drug discovery network, including the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Riken Research Institute, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The health ministry plans on initially spending $3.47 million on the project. The AI will mine critical information about new drugs from both Japanese and foreign research papers and databases. Then the AI will hopefully help discover novel candidate compounds for testing. Recently, AI has been used in developing cancer drugs in the US, and the Japanese government hopes that AI will continue to drive domestic pharmaceutical innovation.