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S. Korea to use AI in drug discovery

All Headlines 12:00 June 07, 2018

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will spearhead a project to develop a drug platform based on artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, the government said Thursday, in the latest effort to transform the country into a global biotech and medical industry hub.

A total of four research centers and universities -- the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gyeongsang National University, Ewha Womans University and the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) -- will join the project, the Ministry of Science and ICT said.

The researchers will work on the development of AI-supported platforms to search for possible candidate substances for new drugs that can precisely predict interactions between compounds, officials said.

The interaction between various compounds is an important consideration in both drug development and clinical application as it can help prevent potentially dangerous side effects.

The ministry forecasts that the developed platform, which will be revealed to the public sometime next year, will speed up drug discovery, and downsize research and development costs and further decrease failure rates in clinical trials.

"The platform will open a new horizon in the drug industry when technologies of bio, AI and big data meet," said Kim Jeong-won, an ICT ministry official in charge of the project.

According to a new report published by Global Market Insights, the AI in the global drug development market is forecast to log an annual growth of 40 percent to reach US$4 billion by 2024.

The ministry said KRICT will first build a substance data platform based on a database from both home and abroad.

Then, the three other participants will develop the AI platform based on deep learning and text mining technologies, it said.

Ministry of Science and ICT (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
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