Five Disruptive Innovations in 2021

Five emerging technologies are poised to continue transforming the world in the coming year.

In November, DeepMind’s AI program, AlphaFold, made a huge leap when it determined a protein’s 3D shape from its amino acid. This advance has the potential to herald a revolution in biology by radically speeding up drug discovery. What makes the technology so deceptive is that it is developing at an exponential pace. This, in turn, requires business leaders in the health care and pharmaceutical industries to think exponentially. If a technology doubles every year in both speed and cost performance, this implies that new drugs — which can take 10 years and a billion dollars to bring to market — may soon be produced in months at a fraction of the cost.

The most important step health care and pharmaceutical companies can take today is to begin exploring how AI can improve existing drugs so that they work more effectively on a wider range of patients while also having fewer harmful side effects.

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