8 minute read 14 Mar 2024
GenAI in pharma industry

How GenAI is revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry

By Suresh Subramanian

National Life Sciences Leader, EY Parthenon

Suresh is passionate about leading digital transformation, reimagining business models and customer experiences in the healthcare and pharma industries, helping clients drive new horizon objectives.

8 minute read 14 Mar 2024

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  • From volume to value: Indian pharma’s transformation with data and AI

Embracing GenAI in the Indian pharmaceutical industry is pivotal for transforming healthcare into a proactive and personalized system.

In brief

  • GenAI has the potential to transform drug discovery and Research and development (R&D). It can also help implement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and bolster the supply chain of the Indian pharma industry.
  • A strategic embrace of technology positions the Indian pharmaceutical industry on the trajectory to evolve into a value-driven economy.

As the global pharmaceutical sector undergoes unprecedented evolution, the integration of advanced technologies like GenAI emerges as a game-changer. Through the innovative application of Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), GenAI is accelerating the pace of drug discovery, guiding scientists in developing novel therapies for complex diseases, and transforming clinical trial processes. This pioneering approach not only promises cost savings in early-stage drug development but also holds the potential to revolutionize precision medicine and targeted therapies for diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s. 

EY Parthenon, in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, launched a report titled 'From Volume to Value: Indian Pharma's Transformation with Data and AI' at the 21st BioAsia 2024.  The report underscores GenAI's potential to reshape drug discovery, R&D processes, and supply chain dynamics and illuminates how Indian pharma companies are leveraging AI algorithms to revolutionize their R&D operations, streamline clinical trials, and enhance operational efficiencies. It marks a significant shift towards value-driven innovation, propelling India towards a leadership position in pharmaceutical advancements on the global stage.

The report outlines key imperatives for Indian pharma's transformation with data and GenAI:

1. GenAI in drug discovery: GenAI emerges as a potent tool for accelerating drug discovery. From reshaping the entire value chain of R&D through the use of ML and NLP algorithms, GenAI is accelerating drug discovery, revolutionizing clinical trials, and guiding scientists in the development of new drugs for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, fibrosis, and other rare diseases.

From identifying drug targets to predicting bioactivity and toxicity, GenAI is driving innovation and positioning India at the forefront of drug development. Prominent contract research organizations (CROs), contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) and top pharma firms are actively harnessing the power of GenAI. 

2. Shifting to value-centric R&D: Extending from discovering new molecules, GenAI, when combined with data analytics, holds the potential to revolutionize the entire R&D value chain. By harnessing GenAI, the industry can realize early-stage cost savings, detect failures, and establish robust innovation pipelines. GenAI's predictive capabilities enable targeted therapies and streamline drug formulation design, fostering innovation and efficiency in R&D processes. This integration is poised to accelerate the drug development process, ensuring that administered drugs yield optimal therapeutic responses in patients. These strategic advancements underscore the transformative potential of GenAI in reshaping the landscape of drug development, fostering innovation, and positioning India at the forefront of pharmaceutical advancements.


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3. Building resilient supply chains: The convergence of localization, digitization, and sustainability trends is shaping a more resilient pharmaceutical supply chain. Strategic foresight, collaboration, and investment in Industry 4.0 technologies are essential to navigate these transformative currents and build a future-ready supply chain.

4. Beyond cheap pills: Digital upgrade to boost manufacturing, quality and compliance: To achieve India’s target by 2030, the country must prioritize setting up large-scale plants, both for APIs and formulations. Modernization is imperative for the industry's progression, as automation and technology adoption become inevitable for staying competitive and meeting global standards. Reducing human intervention in pharmaceutical processes is considered a key strategy for enhancing medicine quality and standardizing procedures, promising improved efficiency and high standards in manufacturing.

In the journey towards this bold vision, collaboration and strategic foresight are paramount to harness the collective power of innovation, drive meaningful change, and unlock the full potential of GenAI to transform the future of Indian pharma.

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As we navigate the dynamic landscape of the pharmaceutical industry, it becomes increasingly clear that the fusion of data and AI is driving monumental shifts in innovation, efficiency, and patient outcomes. By embracing these transformative trends, stakeholders have the opportunity to shape a future where healthcare is not just reactive but proactive, where treatments are personalized, and where India emerges as a global powerhouse in pharmaceutical innovation.

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About this article

By Suresh Subramanian

National Life Sciences Leader, EY Parthenon

Suresh is passionate about leading digital transformation, reimagining business models and customer experiences in the healthcare and pharma industries, helping clients drive new horizon objectives.