Transforming R&D: Digital innovation in the pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries, a new report by MIT Technology Review Insights, explores how leading pharmaceuticals and chemicals companies are using artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and other digital technologies to transform scientific research and enhance R&D performance.
The report, produced in association with PerkinElmer Informatics, is based on in-depth interviews with R&D executives at organisations including Novartis, Roche, Merck, BASF, and Syngenta. The report finds that:
- Robust data governance is a foundational capability for high-performance R&D. Rich, accessible, and shareable data are the fuel on which today’s breakthrough analytics and computing tools rely. To ensure that datasets are usable for scientific purposes, leading companies are focusing on FAIR data principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable), developing robust metadata and governance protocols, and using advanced analytics and data visualisation tools.
- Digital technologies allow researchers to explore patterns and trends in high-value and complex datasets. Digital transformation is opening up R&D horizons in areas such as genomics that could lead to breakthroughs in precision medicine. It is also creating opportunities for decentralised clinical trials, unleashing future innovations in digi-ceuticals and healthcare wearables.
- Digitalisation programs raise questions about organisational and data governance structures. R&D leaders foster bottom-up innovation by giving research teams freedom to experiment with new technologies and techniques. They also drive top-down strategic initiatives for sharing ideas, harmonising systems, and channeling digital transformation budgets.
- R&D roles, workflows, and corporate culture are shifting in new ways. As in any industry, AI and automation are changing ways of working in scientific research. Rather than being seen as a threat to research careers, leading organisations in pharma and chemicals are demonstrating that digital provides new opportunities for collaboration and the breaking down of silos. They celebrate wins, encourage feedback, and nurture open discussions about culture shifts in the workplace.
“As scientific research and data management become increasingly digital and move into the cloud, they create exciting opportunities for organisations to leverage information in new ways to accelerate and improve scientific discovery and product development,” said Kevin Willoe, VP and GM of PerkinElmer Informatics. “We are delighted to collaborate with MIT Technology Review to gain insights on how leading pharmaceutical and chemical companies are forging a path on this exciting journey.”