GlaxoSmithKline builds AI team with another hire from biotech hotbed

GlaxoSmithKline lured one more from the biotech hotbed of California in a proposal to step up its artificial intelligence efforts and then rejuvenate drug research. 

The London-based drugmaker said that Kim Branson will manage the use of artificial intelligence for finding novel targets for possible medicines, where Glaxo believes the technology can have the biggest effect. Branson is the newest top manager Glaxo has recruited from Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit, which is based in San Francisco.

With Emma Walmsley at the controls for the last two years, Glaxo has sought to renovate its research strategy and alter the insight of the company as a laggard in developing cutting-edge drugs. In an interview Walmsley said, ‘the most effective method any company will change its performance is making the timelines shorter, the prices lower and the chances of success higher’. 

AI is being tapped by the Pharma Company and machine learning to tie together huge amounts of data, trying to forecast better targets for potential drugs and the ultimate patients for medical trials. She said, ‘those technologies give a real prospect of improving the efficiency of an R&D organization. 

Glaxo already has agreements to work together on AI with partners counting Exscientia Ltd. Tackling the low success rate of industry latest drug development, last year Glaxo formed a partnership with genetic-testing company 23andMe Inc for harnessing genetic data to discover new drug targets better choose patients for clinical studies.

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