Sanofi “all in” on artificial intelligence and data science

Published: 14-Jun-2023

“Our ambition is to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence at scale, giving our people tools and technologies," Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi

Sanofi has taken the next step in its company-wide digital transformation and rolls-out plai at scale. 

plai, Sanofi’s industry-leading app developed with artificial intelligence (AI) platform company Aily Labs, delivers real-time, reactive data interactions and gives an unprecedented 360° view across all Sanofi activities. 

The app aggregates available company internal data across functions and harnesses the power of AI to provide timely insights and personalised “what if” scenarios to support thousands of Sanofi teams decision makers to take informed decisions in a simple and modern digital user experience.

Paul Hudson, CEO Sanofi, said: “Our ambition is to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence at scale, giving our people tools and technologies that focus on insights and allow them to make better everyday decisions. The use of artificial intelligence and data science already support our teams’ efforts in areas such as accelerating drug discovery, enhanced clinical trial design, and improving manufacturing and supply of medicines and vaccines.”

plai is an essential enabler in the company-wide digital transformation and data democratisation journey. AI-powered tools help Sanofi teams make better and faster data-driven decisions, hence boosting productivity across the value chain: from research to clinical operations to manufacturing and supply to business analysis.

Our ambition is to become the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence at scale

- Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi

In Research, Sanofi has built multiple AI programs to slash research times through improved predictive modelling and automate time-sink activities. As a result, AI enables R&D teams to scale and accelerate ground-breaking research processes from a matter of weeks to just hours and improve potential target identification in therapeutic areas like immunology, oncology or neurology by 20 to 30%.

AI also accelerates work on mRNA research. For an mRNA vaccine to reach its designated cells and produce disease-fighting proteins, it must be carried by a stable drug delivery system via a special particle, known as a lipid nanoparticle. While Sanofi owns a large library of lipid nanoparticles, R&D teams now use AI to create digital models to predict the strongest selection of particles. It increased the speed of the lipid nanoparticle prediction process from months to days.

In Clinical operations, the increasing digitisation and leverage of plai’s insights empower Sanofi teams to rethink how to run better clinical trials. For example, R&D teams can find and set up new, more convenient trial sites for their target groups, broadening opportunities for those from historically underrepresented communities to participate in clinical research. With improved representation, Sanofi continues its work toward a future where all trials reflect the diversity of the people most affected by the diseases studied.

In Manufacturing and Supply, Sanofi is digitising quality assessment processes, moving from paper to Electronic Batch Records, leveraging digital and data to improve asset utilisation and increase productivity by implementing new manufacturing 4.0 capabilities. Sanofi has also developed an in-house AI-enabled yield optimisation solution which learns from past and current batch performance to enable consistently higher yield levels. This helps to optimize usage of raw materials, contributing to the company’s environmental objectives, and supports improved cost efficiency. Also, recent plai adoption within Sanofi's biopharma Supply Chain has proven the ability to predict 80% of low inventory positions, allowing teams to take mitigating actions to secure supply, faster than ever before.

Best-in-class technological collaborations to speed scientific breakthroughs for patients

In 2022 Sanofi acquired Amunix Pharmaceuticals, which uses AI to tailor-deliver medicines that become active only in tumor tissues, while not harming normal ones. The same year, Sanofi joined forces in a collaboration with pioneering biotech Exscientia to explore new treatments for cancer and diseases linked to the immune system. 

Using Exscientia’s AI-based capabilities and personalised medicine platform, Sanofi’s scientists can test drug candidates against actual human tissue models, years before a clinical trial. 

Also in 2022, Sanofi partnered with pharmaceutical companies Insilico Medicine and Atomwise to speed up medicine development using their AI-driven platforms. This comes on top of Sanofi’s partnership with Owkin in 2021, whose AI-driven platform uses patient data from different medical centres to build models and predict patient responses to treatments.

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