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Learning and leading: Harnessing GenAI power in biopharma


April 18, 2024

GenAI in the biopharma world is changing how we work in Life Sciences

But it's not just about the technology; it's also changing the talent agenda, impacting jobs and skills across all aspects of the industry. The convergence of genetics and GenAI is transforming drug discovery and development, precision medicine, genomic diagnosis, and biomarker discovery; it’s leading businesses to reimagine how they conduct clinical trials, and repurposing drugs by identifying new therapeutic indications for existing drugs.

Such is the potential for reinvention in the biopharma world

Organizations are having to develop capabilities that focus on integrating expertise in genetics, data science, machine learning, and bioinformatics, to name a few. Behaviors and mindsets need to change as individuals embrace continuous learning, data-driven collaboration and display continuous adaptability. Accenture’s recently published research “Work, workforce, workers. Reinvented in the age of Generative AI” highlights how the power of GenAI will profoundly impact work and workflow and reshape the workforce, with the opportunity to create a more fulfilling human-centric work experience.

Our research suggests three opportunities offered by the adoption of GenAI:

  • accelerating economic value,
  • driving business growth,
  • fostering more creative and meaningful work for people

To unlock this value, biopharma companies need to recognize that GenAI has the potential to reinvent work processes across the entire value chain and create more human-centric experiences, reinventing work processes, reshaping the workforce, and preparing workers for the future are crucial steps in realizing the potential of GenAI.

A responsible GenAI approach can boost value and market share

Success also depends on rethinking entire workflows to identify areas where GenAI can have the most impact. In parallel, organizations can reshape their workforce by utilizing the capacity freed up by GenAI to focus workers on activities that drive critical business outcomes. To do this, the use of GenAI needs to clearly align with improving efficiency, driving innovation across the organization, and promoting a culture where people are empowered to shape their work. In preparation for this, organizations can implement comprehensive learning initiatives and create a strong teach-to-learn culture that helps workers develop the skills needed to maximize the benefits of GenAI.

Premium skills in biopharma will be interdisciplinary

They also include a collaborative mindset to foster innovation between scientists, data analysts, and software engineers to effectively harness the power of GenAI for drug discovery, clinical research, and personalized medicine. Other skills include data science proficiency across the organization, genomic medical expertise, ethical and regulatory competence in working with GenAI tools, and a mindset that embraces continuous learning and personal adaptability.

Talking during the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos, Petra Jantzer, Accenture's Life Sciences Global Lead, shared some examples of how biopharma organizations are benefiting from the convergence of science and intelligent technologies. These examples provide excellent food for thought on the potential effects of an interdisciplinary workforce:

  1. Biopharma organizations that have transformed supply chain, manufacturing, and quality methods by implementing automated, integrated, and intelligent processes, have reduced line and lab downtime, minimized scrapped batches, and supported faster changeovers. They have also increased data visibility, Quality Assurance, and Quality Control lead times. These enhancements can result in faster product launches, and increase throughput of 10–20%, and boost revenues by up to 3%. That is huge.

  2. Combining the strength of computational science, data science, and lab science at speeds never before seen. The convergence of these scientific advances will significantly accelerate the R&D process. Augmenting the sciences with intelligent technologies such as generative AI, and other in silico tools will accelerate success across the entire value chain. The combination of lab science and AI allows us to shorten the time to identify and validate the target and fast-track the drug discovery process. With an AI-led discovery strategy, companies can reduce discovery cycle times by two-thirds, as well as design therapies previously believed to be impossible (e.g., undruggable targets). This innovative edge can lead to breakthrough treatments for complex diseases, ultimately benefitting global health.


David Hole

Senior Managing Director – Life Sciences, Talent and Organization Lead

Learn and lead in new ways to fully harness the power of GenAI

This pivot can appear daunting, and from the outset, there needs to be a focus on addressing the trust gap between workers and leaders when it comes to the responsible integration of GenAI and fostering ways of working that place a premium on transparency and collaboration. A critical step to bridging the trust gap is by actively involving workers in shaping the change and redesigning their work and roles. Promoting behaviors and mindsets that embrace transparency and collaboration requires leaders to learn and lead in new ways to harness the power of GenAI fully. Leaders need to immerse themselves in the technology and develop a deep understanding of GenAI.

In conclusion, to achieve talent transformation in the era of GenAI, organizations need to adopt a people-centric approach that involves workers, builds trust, and fosters a culture of learning and collaboration. This is especially relevant for biopharma organizations, which face both opportunities and challenges in integrating GenAI into their innovation processes. By developing a diverse and interdisciplinary workforce with data science, genomic medicine, ethical, and regulatory skills, biopharma organizations can leverage GenAI to create more value, drive business growth, and improve patient outcomes. GenAI is shaping the future of work, and by embracing it responsibly, we can create a more human-centric, innovative, and fulfilling work environment.