Use Of Data Science In Pharma And Drug Discovery

Data and information are the digital gold in the modern world. Effective utilization of settled facts and information is paramount for the pharmaceutical industry. Ever since our cognitive evolution, the ability to share helpful information has been the stepping stone to success. The dissemination of information took a revolutionary turn with the invention of the printing press. The printing press made it possible for researchers to share their work with the world. This led to the build-up of ideas on the same thought, which was crucial in improving knowledge across domains. Fast forward to 300 years later, the invention of the internet made things even better. 

Today, we can share information and data in the blink of an eye. The entire base of medical researchers relies on empirical data and information. However, ever since technology became a common phenomenon, the volume of data has also grown. Therefore, today we have more data than we can ever process manually. So many sources of information are available that it is virtually impossible to sort them out by relevance. This is where data analytics comes in. With the help of professional data scientists, pharma industries can now process every bit of relevant information and crunch the valuable data out of it. This article will elaborate further on data science in pharma and drug discovery. Given the pandemic world we live in, the relevance of drug discovery is now more than ever. Before diving into how the pharmaceutical industry should be improved, we need to look at how it currently runs. Check out the infographic below to see how your medicine is made!
Infographic provided by The Emmes Company, a biostatistics organization

Accelerate drug discovery and development

The median cost of drug discovery today is approximately a billion dollars. Not to mention the tremendous amount of time spent in trials and testing. But, the number of contagious diseases that we face each year as epidemics or pandemics are increasing. Moreover, some established drugs are often rendered useless because the microorganisms develop immunity against them. 

Also, it is pertinent to note here that most popular drugs will lose their patent protection in the coming years, and hence, there will be a potential gap in the market that pharma companies are dying to exploit. Therefore, this is the perfect time for a technology to expedite the drug discovery process. You can learn this by pursuing some of the best online data science courses.

With data analytics, pharma companies can get a hold of past data, results from clinical trials, and research findings. They could then apply this filtered data to their discovery process to hone the new drug even more. 

Additionally, the data scientists can run a comprehensive algorithm on the patent websites and extract useful information regarding the design and substances. However, many pharmaceutical giants are craving more and more relevant data that is not readily available on the internet. 

Hence,  AstraZeneca, Bayer, Janssen Research And Development, Sanofi, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center signed a notable deal. 

The purpose of this deal was to share data through a shared database to accelerate the drug discovery process. They signed this deal as a part of the project named Project Data Sphere. 

The signatories of this agreement have agreed to share their past research data in the field of cancer treatment. The concerned database will go online globally so, researchers can access it in good faith. 

Improve the efficacy of clinical trials

Clinical trials have always been a headache for pharmaceutical companies when it comes to drug discovery. It is probably the costliest step because it involves patient identification, and if companies don’t find the right mix of patients, the trials fail. This results in increased drug discovery costs. 

Now, we must note that in the modern world, we are blessed with health monitoring devices that track our vitals 24X7. The data extracted from these devices are of immense value because they can tell a lot about the participants’ health profiles. Data analytics can use this information to identify patients who could participate in the trial. 

They can factor in the environment, history of terminal diseases, and routine activities to find the right mix. Hence, we can expedite finding the right combination of patients, improving the accuracy of clinical trials, and cutting back the discovery cost. 

Moreover, pharma companies can also perform trials on niche groups of patients by factoring in their genetic information. Also, while finding the right mix of participants, data analytics can look at the demography of different regions and past data from the trials. This could help them create a model that could predict the potential side effects of a new drug. 

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Target specific populations in a better way

The traditional approach of medicine prescription adopted by physicians worldwide was “One fits all.” However, we can’t possibly blame them for this approach. Two factors that contributed to this orthodox approach were the lack of patient data and the lack of targeted drugs. Even the pharma companies would identify the disease and develop a drug that would treat that disease in most cases. 

This approach is a leading cause of side effects and allergic reactions in most patients. The physiology of every patient is different, and hence, each body triggers a different response to the same medication. Therefore, companies felt a need to adopt a targeted prescription approach for better medical care. 

Because of near-accurate health monitoring devices, patient data is readily available today. You could study this data to analyze the physical condition, medical history, role of physical activities, etc. Hence, physicians could prescribe a medicine that would work effectively without triggering any side effects. 

Additionally, pharma companies use this data for genome sequencing, demographic study, etc. You can use the extracted data from these devices to link common diseases with other factors. Once a rare condition is established, the companies develop special drugs to treat a small group of the population. Click here to get most popular news.


The relevance of data analytics is growing every day because of the greater availability of end-user data. Hence, several industries have implemented programs wherein they are trying to optimize their operations by effective use of relevant data. 

If you want to jump on the bandwagon of this lucrative career, sign in to Great Learning to learn more about data science and analytics. Here, industry experts will help you build a profile by giving you online data analyst certification that will help you move forward seamlessly.

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