This week Harry talks with Gini Deshpande, the co-founder and CEO of San Mateo, CA-based NuMedii, a company making judicious use of big data and AI to speed up drug discovery.
Gini Desphande says she likes to think of “AI” as augmented intelligence rather than artificial intelligence: a system of human plus machine intelligence that can speed up drug development and cut R&D costs and failure rates in clinical trials. AI “really isn’t at the point where it’s automatable,” she says. “We still need a lot of human intelligence to be coupled with this technology, to determine what are the questions you want to ask and to evaluate all the targets that come out, to say ‘Do these make sense?'”
NuMedii’s specialty is analyzing bulk tissue to isolate gene sequences in single cells that can point to new drug targets and drug candidates for diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. “The AI component helps us look at new targets that are not obvious to the human eye,” she says. “It enables us to find network-level connections between diseases of interest and targets that are relevant for that disease. We can look at which nodes are coming into play and which ones should be manipulated for a particular disease.”