Merck's first ever AI solution has more than 60 billion possibilities for successful drug properties

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags SaaS Clinical data Clinical data management Clinical research Data management Artificial intelligence machine learning Merck Contract research organization Pharmaceutical industry

Science and technology giant, Merck, has launched its first software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that it says bridges the gap between virtual molecule design and real-world manufacturability.

The Aiddison drug discovery software works through Synthia retrosynthesis software application programming interface (API) integration and Merck says it combines generative artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and computer-aided drug design to speed up drug development.

Trained on more than two decades of experimentally validated datasets from pharmaceutical research and development, Aiddison software identifies compounds from over 60 billion possibilities that have key properties of a successful drug, such as non-toxicity, solubility, and stability in the body. The platform then proposes ways to best synthesize these drugs.

“With millions of people waiting for the approval of new medicines, bringing a drug to market, still takes on average, more than 10 years and costs over €1.9 billion,” said Karen Madden, chief technology officer of, life science business sector at Merck.

“Our platform enables any laboratory to count on generative AI to identify the most suitable drug-like candidates in a vast chemical space. This helps ensure the optimal chemical synthesis route for the development of a target molecule in the most sustainable way possible.”

The company explains that discovering drugs is a long, iterative process. Only about 10% of drug candidates evaluated in phase 1 made it to market. In its research, the company said that finding the most suitable chemical compound from a universe of more than 1,060 molecules requires significant time, resources, and expertise.

Merck AI device

AI and machine learning models like Aiddison software can extract hidden insights from huge datasets, thus increasing the success rate of delivering new therapies to patients. AI has the potential to offer more than $70 billion in savings for the drug discovery process by 2028 and to save up to 70% of time and costs for drug discovery in pharmaceutical companies.  

Merck is a globally diversified science and technology company and says it has leading positions in life science, healthcare, and electronics, leveraging key synergies to fuel future-forward innovation.

With its expertise in small molecules, biologics, and new modalities with AI and other digital tools, Merck says it helps to redefine how drugs are discovered, developed, and made. Aligning the right convergent technologies, knowledge, and partners to leverage AI, automation, and other digital tools it believes it will help bring better therapies to patients faster.

There are a number of SaaS trends in pharma that offer a lot of benefits including enhanced data security for any mergers and acquisitions and licensing. It protects sensitive information from any unauthorized access. It has advantages for regulatory compliance as their design is in alignment with laws and regulations, of which there are many in the industry and this can help with more efficient operations. 

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