Merck AI to accelerate drug manufacturing

  • December 19, 2023
  • William Payne

Merck has launched a cloud platform to accelerate the process between drug discovery and manufacturing. The new platform, AIDDISON, not only provides drug discovery functionality, but also uses AI to design and optimise the manufacturing process for the new drug. AIDDISON has the potential to save 70% of the cost and time involved in both drug and manufacturing design.

The AIDDISON SaaS platform combines generative AI, machine learning and computer-aided drug-design. It has been trained on more than two decades of experimentally validated datasets from pharmaceutical R&D. AIDDISON software identifies compounds from over 60 billion possibilities that have properties of a successful drug, such as non-toxicity, solubility, and stability in the body. The platform then proposes ways to best synthesise these drugs.

“With millions of people waiting for the approval of new medicines, bringing a drug to market, still takes on average, more than 10 years and costs over 1.9 billion Euros1” said Karen Madden, Chief Technology Officer, Life Science business sector of Merck. “Our platform enables any laboratory to count on generative AI to identify the most suitable drug-like candidates in a vast chemical space. This helps ensure the optimal chemical synthesis route for development of a target molecule in the most sustainable way possible.”

Only about 10% of drug candidates evaluated in Phase I made it to market. To find the most suitable chemical compound from a universe of more than 1060 molecules requires significant time, resources, and expertise. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning models like AIDDISON software can extract hidden insights from huge datasets, thus increasing the success rate of delivering new therapies to patients.

According to Merck, AI has the potential to offer more than US$70 billion in savings for the drug discovery process by 2028, and to save up to 70% time and costs for drug discovery in pharmaceutical companies.