Technological innovation for the creation of new drugs
GTN Ltd’s co-founder and CEO Noor Shaker has developed a technology combining quantum physics and machine learning to create new drugs.
How can you innovate in the pharmaceutical industry and create new medicines? According to researcher and entrepreneur Noor Shaker, you need to break the barriers that exist today, and she is using quantum computing to do so. She is the co-founder and CEO of the company GTN Ltd, and is working on the development of techniques to create drugs through the use of quantum computers. Her goal is to bring drugs more rapidly to society in general and, more particularly, to countries facing difficulties to access medicines.
Shaker, who has a doctorate degree in Philosophy, Machine Learning and Affective Computing from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, explains that, today, launching a new drug in the market costs 2.6 billion dollars. Moreover, the process to put it in the market could take up to 15 years. According to calculations conducted by her company, prospects are not very bright: global R&D drug production is expected to decrease by 50% every nine years. Shaker believes that this situation could be improved by using supercomputers in medicine. Unlike classic computing, these machines are capable of testing different solutions to one particular problem at the same time, which allows them to solve complex problems in a very short period of time.
In particular, Generative Tensorial Networks, the technology developed by this innovator, consists of a software that combines quantum physics with machine learning techniques. Thanks to these techniques, based on Artificial Intelligence, machines have the ability to respond to new data by themselves without having to rely on a human programmer every time they face a new challenge. In this way, GTN looks for new molecules similar to those in existing drugs: it simulates, filters and picks those who were hidden and can be used for creating different drugs.
Before setting up GTN Lead, Shaker used to work as an assistant professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, where she was working on research related to machine learning, artificial intelligence and data mining. This experience proved very helpful when it came to starting this company which, on top of shortening the process for creating drugs, also cuts by half the costs involved.
One of the speakers at the latest edition of EmTech France 2017, Shaker takes advantage as well of artificial intelligence to mine all data available and study diseases in the most detailed way possible. Thus, she could improve the formulation of the specific drugs needed by each individual. Noor Shaker feels that, even though we live in a world determined by data and machines, we mustn’t forget about patients. For this innovator, true progress is about having a positive impact in society. In the field of medicine, artificial intelligence and quantum computing are some of the areas with a greater potential for improving people’s health, and Shaker is in the front line of it all.