The case ‘BenevolentAI – Using AI to Disrupt the Traditional Drug Discovery Process’ is about BenevolentAI’s (BAI) use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the drug discovery and development process to reduce the time and costs involved in getting a new drug to market. BAI, a UK-based organization, had deployed its AI ‘Bioscience Machine Brain’ (BMB) platform to significantly reduce the time involved in the Early Phase and Pre-clinical testing phase of the drug discovery process from three-six years to one-two years. There was also a reduction in costs by 60% in the drug discovery and development process. The case explains the drug discovery and development stages in the traditional drug discovery process. The impact of BAI’s BMB on the drug discovery and development process is also explained with the resulting reduction in the time period. The disruption which could happen in the traditional pharmaceutical industry is also discussed. In a short period of time, BAI had found the potential compounds for the disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), for which clinical trials were in process. The case ends with the future outlook of the company and the competition it faced from various other new AI-based companies. With many health-tech startups in the market and many of the traditional pharmaceutical companies starting to use AI for their drug research, the healthcare domain was poised to register greater achievements in new drug discoveries for the most debilitating diseases afflicting mankind.
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
Understand the concept of disruptive innovation.
Analyze the impact of new technologies on traditional processes.
Analyze the difference between incremental innovation and disruptive/breakthrough innovation.
Understand the importance of artificial intelligence in pharma research and development processes in the current market scenario.
Understand the characteristics of strategic innovation.