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New Employment Opportunities in Drug Discovery Born from AI

Biopharma’s increasing investment in technological innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and data science is an important trend to watch for emerging employment opportunities, especially in the drug discovery market.

The exploding practice of using AI to accelerate the drug discovery process is specifically illustrated by both the increasing number of partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and AI startups and the amount of investments pharmaceutical companies are making on internal AI capabilities.

More Partnerships with AI Startups

Pharmaceutical companies have collaborated with AI startups to enhance drug discovery programs in many important ways. As a result of these partnerships, for example, AI has been applied to patient diagnosis and treatment, drug repurposing and even to genomics to discover natural peptides with health benefits. [1] AI is also being leveraged in data mining to find and validate potential cancer drug targets as well as therapeutic targets for neurological diseases.  Each are data-rich endeavors with potentially significant medical benefits.

Increasing Investment in Internal AI Capabilities

Because massive volumes of data are created when incorporating AI into drug discovery, pharmaceutical companies will need to restructure their organizations and infrastructures to be able to quickly process, store, access and analyze their research. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are equally growing their internal AI capabilities to be prepared for the AI-driven digital transformation and accelerate time to discovery. Global pharmaceutical companies including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are in the process of undertaking this change.

Impact on Employment Opportunities

The technological advancements of AI in biopharma not only impacts how pharmaceutical companies operate but also creates a shift in employment opportunities. Although some experts predict that AI advancements will result in a reduction in the labor force over the next fifteen years, we believe the reduction will be accompanied by an expansion of workforce needs in various other areas.

Both organizations and workers alike will have to adapt to the need for more technological and higher cognitive skills created by the adoption of AI in biopharmaceuticals like drug discovery. For example, pharmaceutical companies will increasingly need data analysts and scientists, AI and machine learning (ML) specialists, big data analysts and more.

Is your organization ready to find and employ new skills needed in this AI revolution? Regional Personnel specializes in recruiting services for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries. We match top talent to company culture with a personal and customized approach to every placement. Start a conversation by emailing us at [email protected].

[1] Smith, Simon. “31 Pharma Companies Using Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery.” BenchSci. 1 Apr. 2019,


James F. Lynch PhD, MBA – Regional Personnel Services ©2019

About James F. Lynch

Dr. Lynch founded his first recruiting firm, Strategic Access Inc. (SAI), in 1998 with over 17 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry in business development, new product & market development, strategic alliances, operations & administration. In 2000, Dr. Lynch joined Reliant Pharmaceuticals as a founding member and Executive Director of Business Development, subsequently forming Commercial Operations as Vice President. Dr. Lynch returned to SAI in 2004 to assume the role of President, and in 2014 acquired Regional Personnel.