Here at Pharmaceutical Executive®, we are already planning our editorial calendar for 2024. And each year we go through this process, I consider this a time of reflection to see where the industry has come, what topics always seem to be on the tips of everyone’s tongues, and what should be a topic of focus. Along with artificial intelligence (AI) being top of mind, other topics that come into my inbox again and again relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and addressing unmet medical needs.
This month’s executive profile of Wendy Short Bartie, senior VP and general manager for the hematology and cell therapy division at Bristol Myers Squibb, really embodies empowering unheard voices and democratizing scientific insight.
Short Bartie has made it her career and mission to combat cancer after personal loss to this awful illness. Her career started more than 11 years ago at Novartis with work on a myeloid leukemia treatment and a non-small cell lung cancer treatment. But her efforts in improving access to cancer treatment are not just about pricing and access but sharing knowledge. Specifically, she believes patients should have access to knowledge about which clinical trials could be relevant to their health conditions; patients should have access to early-detection screenings; and they should have access to more data to make informed choices about their health and care.
Speaking of AI, I’m sure no one will be surprised by more AI coverage. BUT. I found the article, AI and Drug ‘Re-Innovation,' by Mike Hollan, assistant managing editor, to be very impactful for a few specific reasons. First, AI has the potential to put down roots and become the new standard in drug development.
The amount of data researchers have had to sift through the in past has been astronomical, to say the least; and to be able to leverage a tool to sift through that data and provide feedback in far less time holds obvious appeal. Like many, I see AI as a tool supplementary to humans—not something that will replace people in the workplace—and the potential for what could be accomplished with the use of AI alongside researchers in drug development cannot be understated.
Utilizing this technology and related tools has the potential to draw out considerable knowledge or provide direction that scientists may have otherwise missed, such as multiple indications for a single therapeutic.
The biggest word of caution that I’ve heard from many industry experts is to be careful what you put into AI, as it will impact what you get out of it. Unrecognized biases have the potential to skew findings, which would ultimately impact a therapeutic’s success—and whether it can address unmet medical needs.
So, like any tool, it needs to be used with wisdom, discernment, and a dash of caution for it to make the impact we are all hoping it will.
Meg Rivers is the managing editor of Pharmaceutical Executive®.