GlaxoSmithKline Digital Transformation and Business Efficiency

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company, has revealed its achievements in digital transformation, reporting significant advancements in operational efficiency and breakthroughs in research and development (R&D).
Emma Walmsley
GlaxoSmithKline’s spending in R&D has touched £5.5 billion in 2022. In its annual report for 2022, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley highlighted the company’s focus on harnessing rapid advancements in science and technology to revolutionize the landscape of life sciences R&D.

The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) has emerged as a pivotal force in reshaping patient outcomes by refining and accelerating the R&D process. GSK’s investment in building robust AI/ML capabilities and forging strategic partnerships underscores its commitment to innovation and progress in the field. Notably, the AI-driven drug discovery industry has seen the participation of nearly 270 companies, indicating the industry’s growth trajectory.

Other biopharma companies are collaborating with AI organisations, with 46 partnerships struck in 2022, compared to 28 in 2016, according to Deep Pharma Intelligence.

GlaxoSmithKline does not share details about its investment in information technology to enhance its operational performance.

The top five pharma companies, according to a report from McKinsey & Company, announced more than 50 investments in digital health companies and assets and have formed twice as many digital health partnerships. US venture funding in digital health peaked at almost $30 billion in 2021.

Shobie Ramakrishnan, GSK’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, emphasized how technologies and real-world data have empowered patients to become integral participants in the early stages of discovery and development. This proactive involvement significantly enhances researchers’ abilities to integrate and leverage data effectively in decision-making processes, particularly in combating complex diseases like cancer and neurological conditions.

GlaxoSmithKline has embarked on a DataOps transformation with Onyx, a group of platforms GSK intends to use to “build a comprehensive data and machine learning ecosystem,” according to the company’s website.

GSK’s AI/ML capabilities play a pivotal role in navigating the data, enabling researchers to forge crucial connections and predictions vital in identifying the drug targets. These capabilities remain instrumental as assets progress through the pipeline, optimizing clinical trial designs and enhancing outcomes, exemplified in ongoing projects such as bepivorisen.

The pharmaceutical giant has established one of the largest in-house AI/ML teams, comprising over 160 experts stationed across key GSK R&D sites, including London, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Philadelphia and Boston. By amalgamating this internal talent with external partnerships, GSK aims to harness deeper insights from research data, amplifying its capabilities and propelling innovation in drug discovery.

Moreover, GSK’s collaborations with esteemed entities like Tempus and King’s College London highlight its commitment to leveraging data-driven approaches to redefine the frontiers of drug discovery. These partnerships aim to unlock new dimensions in oncology, personalized medicine, and the treatment of neurological diseases, solidifying GSK’s position at the forefront of medical innovation.

Beyond drug development, GSK’s digital initiatives extend to optimizing vaccine development and production. Collaborations with Siemens and Atos have led to the creation of a ‘digital twin,’ providing real-time simulations of vaccine manufacturing processes, marking a significant leap towards efficiency and quality control.

In 2022, GlaxoSmithKline started two other data collaborations: PathAI, a global leader in AI-powered pathology, aimed at accelerating R&D in oncology and NASH.

GlaxoSmithKline aims to combine predictive and data-driven approach to drug discovery and trials with PathAI’s models to build algorithms that uncover new insights. It will integrate these into trials to help predict which patients will be impacted most – Tempus, which enables access to their library of deidentified patient data.

Tempus’ dataset draws from its work with over 40 percent of oncologists in the US at academic medical centres and community hospitals. GlaxoSmithKline will work with Tempus to improve clinical trial design, speed up enrolment and identify drug targets, with an initial focus on oncology.

This transformative journey also encompasses the digitization of communication platforms to engage patients globally, leading to an unprecedented digital enablement of brands and campaigns, resulting in substantial market growth and expanded market share.

GlaxoSmithKline invested in modernising, digitising and automating manufacturing network. For example, quality control laboratories at all sites went paperless. “We’ll transition more than 50 production lines at 10 sites to electronic batch records by 2025 as we build on our digital capability for better operational efficiency, compliance, yield and shorter lead times,” GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said.

GlaxoSmithKline has scaled up use of data-led omnichannel communication platforms to reach more patients face-toface and digitally. To date, GlaxoSmithKline has digitally enabled 27 brands and 447 campaigns across 44 markets, doubling efforts compared to last year, and resulting in incremental growth and market share.

GlaxoSmithKline says it delivered £23 million in savings through its programme of productivity and efficiency improvements, taking the cumulative total to £62 million. Its target for the programme is to deliver £119 million in savings by 2025. These savings support improvements in gross margin.

The use of digital, data and analytics in 2022 extends to driving Medical Affairs effectiveness. Advanced analytics and text mining has produced medical insights which allow for high-quality scientific engagement with experts to improve patient outcomes. We’ll continue to prioritise use of omnichannel communication platforms in Medical Affairs to engage HCPs on the latest scientific advances.

GlaxoSmithKline’s chain is a global network that enabled it to produce and deliver 1.8 billion packs in 2022. It has streamlined network to make it smaller, more agile and more resilient, with the capacity and capability to bring the next generation of medicines to patients all over the globe.

GlaxoSmithKline has 25 sites manufacturing medicines in GSK network. Overall, site productivity has increased by 3.9 percent year on year over the last three years. Strengthening manufacturing base Modern manufacturing facilities help it launch specialty medicines quickly in order to build and strengthen market positions and performance.

The opening of the manufacturing facility in Barnard Castle, UK, underscores GSK’s dedication to sustainable and automated production processes. This facility, leveraging robotic aseptic filling technology, is poised to manufacture a myriad of biopharmaceutical assets, affirming GSK’s commitment to innovation and delivering groundbreaking medicines to patients worldwide.

Rajani Baburajan

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