Life Sciences: AI Emerges as the Ultimate Investment Frontier for Tech-Savvy Firms

Survey Finds AI as Top Area for Investment in Life Science Firms

The Pistoia Alliance, in partnership with Open Pharma Research, has conducted a global survey examining lab technology investment, barriers, and benefits in the life science industry. The survey, which includes input from 200 experts across Europe, the Americas, and APAC, reveals that AI and Machine Learning (ML) will be the top tech investment over the next two years, with 60% of respondents indicating their intention to invest in these areas. Furthermore, more than half of the labs surveyed (54%) are already using AI/ML.

However, the survey also highlights several challenges to implementing AI in the life science industry. The number one barrier identified is low quality and poorly curated datasets, cited by 58% of respondents. Additionally, 36% of respondents expressed concerns about data that does not adhere to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Privacy and security concerns around data were also raised by 34% of respondents, along with the perception that AI is not trustworthy, reliable, or responsible (30%).

To overcome these challenges, the survey respondents expressed a need for best practices, business use cases, and ‘how-tos’ to help them integrate AI/ML in the lab. Educational courses and opportunities for collaboration with other organizations to share AI knowledge and risks were also identified as valuable resources.

Dr. Becky Upton, president of the Pistoia Alliance, emphasized the importance of collaboration in improving the modern lab environment. She stated that despite significant investment from individual companies, there are still opportunities for the industry to work together and address the challenges revealed by the survey. The Pistoia Alliance’s approach to pre-competitive collaboration will play a key role in driving better data standards, knowledge sharing, and the development of use cases and best practice guides.

Looking ahead, the survey results indicate that wearables, virtual reality, and augmented reality technologies will become key features of the lab of the future, with 40% of respondents expecting to use such equipment in the next two years. Cloud computing platforms (51%) and robotics and automation (36%) were also identified as investment priorities for building the infrastructure of a modern lab.

Zahid Tharia, Pistoia Alliance consultant and a director of Open Pharma Research, highlighted the importance of events like the Lab of the Future Congress and resources from the Alliance’s Lab of The Future community in supporting the successful adoption of new technologies. By collating different experiences, knowledge, and viewpoints, these initiatives aim to foster collaboration and build meaningful connections.

The Pistoia Alliance will continue to meet the needs of its members based on the survey results. The organization will develop new strategic priorities and further build its portfolio of projects, including the FAIR Implementation Guide, IDMP Ontology, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) Use Case Database Project. The Alliance aims to provide a space for companies to collaborate as equals on projects that generate value for the worldwide life sciences community.

The full report of the survey is available for free download here.