AstraZeneca is using PyTorch-powered algorithms to discover new drugs


Since it launched in 2017, Facebook's machine-learning framework PyTorch has been put to good use, with applications ranging from powering Elon Musk's autonomous cars to driving robot-farming projects. Now pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has revealed how its in-house team of engineers are tapping PyTorch too, and for equally as important endeavors: to simplify and speed up drug discovery. Combining PyTorch with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, AstraZeneca's technology can comb through massive amounts of data to gain new insights about the complex links between drugs, diseases, genes, proteins or molecules. Those insights are used to feed an algorithm that can, in turn, recommend a number of drug targets for a given disease for scientists to test in the lab. The method could allow for huge strides in a sector like drug discovery, which so far has been based on costly and time-consuming trial-and-error methods.

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