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IIT alumni's startup has built a ‘Google Map for scientists’ to help in drug discovery

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One of the greatest wonders of the 20th and 21st centuries has been the advancement of medical science. It is no secret that our generation will live longer than our ancestors’ because medical science has not only helped eradicate several fatal diseases, thereby increasing average life expectancy in humans, but has also improved the quality of life.

And, this has been made possible by scientists and researchers who spend tireless hours in discovering life-saving drugs. However, drug discovery is a complex, costly, and long-drawn process. It is also plagued with uncertainties because one never really knows if a drug would succeed during patient trials or not.

Add to that the rise in ageing populations, the widening spread of chronic diseases, and the growing demand for “personalised medicine”... drug discovery is perhaps more challenging than ever before. This possibly explains the high R&D spending made by pharmaceutical companies.

But, experts reckon that Big Data and technologies like AI and machine learning will make a significant impact in the drug discovery process going ahead. A 2017 report by McKinsey pegs this as “a $100 billion opportunity” worldwide.

Elucidata, founded by Swetabh Pathak (IIT-D) and Abhishek Jha (IIT-B), is one such startup riding the wave of data-led drug discovery. The Massachusetts-based startup uses data analytics and machine learning to ease bottlenecks in the process, and helps researchers take real-time decisions.

Swetabh Pathak and Abhishek Jha, Co-founders, Elucidata

Data-led drug discovery

The startup has developed a cloud-based, data analytics platform known as ‘Polly’ for scientists looking to discover drugs. The........

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