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Application of Digital Technologies in Drug Discovery and Development

Student: Daiana Dugarova

Supervisor: Thomas Thurner

Faculty: Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge

Educational Programme: Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

Digital transformation has significantly affected each industry, and completely changed the way companies do business. Obviously, digital technologies are also reshaping the pharmaceutical business and reimagining the healthcare sector. This study examines the impact of digital technologies on drug discovery and development which are the main and crucial processes within the whole pharmaceutical industry. The study poses the following research question: how do digital technologies affect drug discovery and its development processes? In order to answer the research question, the methodology of qualitative research based on semi-structured interviews has been used which is suitable for consideration and thorough analysis of the research topic and question from different perspectives saturating the with professional viewpoints, personal insights, expert opinions, and attitudes. During the interviews with experts, the new trends and major changes in the pharmaceutical sector due to digital transformation have been identified and represented. It was concluded that digital technologies are affecting the whole pharmaceutical value chain and bringing high value to all stakeholders and consumers. However, pharmaceutical companies are only at the initial stages of transformation now. There is still room for improvement and the significant impact is still not visible. The full potential of digital technologies should be further explored and unlocked, and they should not only spur innovation development and lead to new breakthroughs but also optimize conventional work and operational processes in drug discovery and development. In the main conclusion, this paper presents the interviews with experts related to the application of digital technologies for the acceleration of drug discovery and development and stepping forward to personalized medicine. Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies tend to shift to an agile methodology which is extremely complicated to implement for the relevant actors. According to the results gathered it can be concluded that for pharmaceutical companies the current level of digitalization is now less than halfway through. However, when talking about the whole digital transformation meaning mindset and corporate culture transformation the level is even lower. It will take around 5 years to notice the significant impact of digital technologies on the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, and around 10 years to completely change the mindset and incorporate digital culture into the companies.

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