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China Market Insider How AI is Revolutionizing the Pharmaceutical Industry in China

Author / Editor: Henrik Bork* / Ahlam Rais

Artificial intelligence start-ups have begun to revolutionize the Chinese pharmaceutical industry. With the help of algorithms and ‘Big Data,’ the development time for new drugs is being radically reduced, in some cases from ten to 15 years to just one to one and a half years. The Chinese start-ups with the best prospects are currently being showered with billions of dollars in investment. The general technological trend fueling this development is called bio convergence.

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PROCESS regularly reports on the Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical market with the format 'China Market Insider'.
PROCESS regularly reports on the Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical market with the format 'China Market Insider'.
(Source: ©sezerozger - stock.adobe.com)

Beijing/China – Startup BioMap, founded by Robin Li, who also founded China's search engine group Baidu or Hong Kong-based Insilico, has already raised several hundred million dollars in investor money this year. "The AI pharmaceutical segment is currently triggering high expectations among capital providers," writes Chinese tech portal 36kr. AI startup XtalPi, based in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, has also received a large investment, including from ‘China Biopharmaceutical Group.’ And multinational pharmaceutical companies such as Merck from Darmstadt, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, or Johnson & Johnson are also increasingly focusing on collaborations with AI startups for their drug pipelines.

In China, this trend is developing particularly fast at the moment. In 2020, Pfizer started to use Insilico's algorithms to sift through large data sets to identify new targets or sites of action for drugs (drug targets). In the same year, the fast-growing Hong Kong-based startup announced that Merck in Darmstadt was the first pharmaceutical multinational to use its AI platform ‘Chemistry42’ on its computers to search for new therapeutic agents. Since then, and in the new year, Insilico has constantly announced new projects and collaborations, including joint drug research with Teva, with the protein degradation-focused company Arvinas, and PAQ Therapeutics.