Home Animals Artificial Intelligence paves the way to replace animal testing in pharmaceuticals

Artificial Intelligence paves the way to replace animal testing in pharmaceuticals

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Animal testing and experiments are set to be a thing of the past, saving up to 115 million animals every year, thanks to a partnership between four large pharmaceutical companies, a large tech company and the Israeli government. Together they will form AION Labs, which will spearhead and fund projects to create Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer models that will allow them to discover, develop and test  treatments and drugs faster which will completely eliminate the need for animal testing.

The exciting new collaboration is made up of the pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck and Teva, as well as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Israel Biotech Fund (IBF).  The newly appointed CEO of AION Labs Mati Gill said; ‘[Aion Labs] is poised to transform the process of therapeutic discovery and development. With a strong talent pool, AI technology at our core… we hope to contribute to the health and well-being of humankind.’ Mr Gill added that he was ‘honored to lead such a meaningful initiative’ that would help to ‘solve many of the world’s critical health issues.’

AION Labs CEO Mati Gill, left, and CTO Yair Benita, Ph.D. Source: The Times of Israel

Another pioneer of AI Computer Models is Israeli-based BioTech company CytoReason, who developed the first computerised model of human diseases. This innovative technology is currently being utilised by pharmaceutical companies, enabling them to ‘develop the right therapies for the right patients, at the right time. CEO of CytoReason, David Harel, explained how their process worked. “What CytoReason does is model the human body in different diseases; we’re building a simulator of how the body behaves under certain conditions, and it’s accurate enough to be used for drug development, among other things. When you have a simulator, you can test it and generate predictions of how the body would react to these drugs relative to existing treatments”.

David Harel CEO of CytoReason. Image Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

Aside from being more efficient, there are a variety of benefits of using computer-generated models for developing and testing new drugs. Using AI modelling could also prove to be a much safer option of introducing new medications for humans than animal testing. Studies have shown that currently up to 90% of investigational drugs fail after yielding positive results with animal testing, either because they don’t work or cause too many side effects.  The future of using computer modelling would also be a huge leap forward for the welfare and rights of animals, with saving up to 115 million animals from experiments worldwide.



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