Lilly Taps OpenAI Tech To Fight Drug-Resistant Diseases

Pharmaceutical giant Lilly has taken up a new tool in its research into drug-resistant microbes: generative AI.

The company recently announced a partnership with OpenAI, steward of the popular ChatGPT product. As part of their collaboration, Lilly will use OpenAI's technologies to help it discover new antimicrobials that can be effective against drug-resistant pathogens.

The overarching goal is to find a way to fight drug-resistant bacteria and viruses, which contribute to high levels of death and disability across the world, particularly in developing regions. According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was the primary cause of nearly 1.3 million deaths worldwide in 2019, and a contributing factor in nearly 5 million.

AMR, said the agency, "makes infections harder to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments -- such as surgery, caesarean sections and cancer chemotherapy -- much riskier."

It added, "There is an inadequate research and development pipeline in the face of rising levels of resistance, and urgent need for additional measures to ensure equitable access to new and existing vaccines, diagnostics and medicines."

Lilly and OpenAI's partnership aims to bridge this R&D gap. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our collaboration with OpenAI represents a groundbreaking step forward in the fight against the growing but overlooked threat of antimicrobial resistance," said Lilly executive vice president Diogo Rau. "Generative AI opens a new opportunity to accelerate the discovery of novel antimicrobials and the development of custom, purpose-built technologies in the battle against drug-resistant pathogens."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.

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