The pharma sector is witnessing a surge in excitement over AI solutions. Since 2021, there have been 139 collaborations between AI solution providers and 10 major pharmaceutical companies. Two AI use cases have a significant importance, prompting the pharma giants to actively seek partnerships.

The recent research, titled “The Pharma’s Rush into AI” by Research2Guidance, offers a comprehensive analysis of AI-focused collaborations, encompassing partnerships, investments, and acquisitions, among the 10 big pharmaceutical companies since 2021. The findings are accessible for download as a whitepaper here.

Accordingly, there have been 139 collaborations closed by 10 big pharma companies just in the last three years. This staggering fact, which is only the visible part of the story since the pharma companies are still deploying AI in the internal projects, is a clear sign that they are driving innovations with AI-focused collaborations.

AstraZeneca leads the pack as the most active pharma company in AI collaborations since 2021, followed closely by Janssen, BMS, Bayer, and Sanofi.

The distribution of these collaborations across various AI use cases also sheds light on the industry’s priorities, with a notable emphasis on AI-powered drug discovery and diagnostics.

Drug discovery and development collaborations alone constitute a significant share, making up 43% of the AI collaborations among the 10 pharmaceutical companies since 2021. Additionally, diagnostics and monitoring, leveraging advanced AI capabilities, have captured the attention of these pharma giants, with 32% of their AI collaborations directed towards these areas over the past three years.

Further delineating the landscape, collaborations aimed at expediting clinical trials and generating insights account for 14% of the total. Notably, partners like PathAI, Lunit, Owkin, Tempus, and Google emerge as preferred choices for these pharmaceutical companies in their pursuit of deploying AI-powered solutions in drug discovery, diagnostics, and clinical studies.

However, amidst this surge in well-explored domains with partnerships, there remain untapped horizons. AI collaborations for domains like knowledge management, supply chain optimization, marketing, and regulatory and post-approval submissions seem relatively unexplored, indicating potential areas for more partnerships.

Another interesting finding also shows the involvement of Big Tech players Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon—in multiple collaborations to integrate AI into pharma’s various operations.

This observation also aligns with the insights derived from R2G’s Business Outlook Survey-2024. The survey, encompassing perspectives from 831 digital health stakeholders and decision-makers worldwide, positioned Big Tech companies as pivotal drivers shaping the digital health industry in 2024 (Refer to “Global Digital Health Business Outlook Survey – 2024” for more details).

Even though Big Tech companies haven’t historically achieved many success stories in healthcare, the growing significance of AI is positioning them as relevant partners within the industry for future.

As the pharmaceutical industry navigates an AI-driven trajectory and collaboration numbers continue to rise, a strategic approach to AI partnerships becomes imperative. Prioritizing AI use cases, selecting partners, preparing partnership models and subsequently building and growing collaborations are crucial steps for harnessing the full potential of AI technologies in the pharma’s domains.

One of the critical factors here lies in identifying and navigating the right partners and partnership models. The establishment of streamlined innovation and partnership processes by R2G and utilizing R2GConnect, the world’s largest database for digital health companies, stands out as a pivotal driver for fostering successful collaborations. (For further insights and networking opportunities, visit, the premier partnership-building platform for the global digital health market)

R2G has been constantly monitoring the global digital health industry since 2010. We provide strategic advice for how to build and grow a successful digital health business and partnerships within all therapeutic areas, business models and regions. We are happy to talk and share our experience! For more information reach out to [email protected]