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A decade ago, the business of drug discovery changed forever. Machine learning researchers were beginning to crack open the potential of deep neural networks — the powerful technology at work when a computer recognizes what’s in a photo. At the same time, the field of single cell genomics was taking off, generating detailed data at a scale that could only be tackled by tech.

Today, those techniques have matured, and their combined forces are beginning to pay off for AI-driven drug discovery companies — if not yet for the patients clamoring for new medicines. Companies that promise to speed up pharmaceutical development with algorithms are raking in enormous investments as they establish partnerships with the world’s biggest drug companies, capitalizing on new strategies to discover targets, design molecules, and predict clinical trial outcomes.

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