Data Science Innovators

What’s the Pharmaverse, and How Do Data Science Innovators Use It to Streamline Drug Approvals?

Lisa Stapleton2022-10-20 | 3 min read

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When it comes to the pharmaceutical industries, machine learning, AI, and statistical computing environments (SCEs) often receive the lion’s share of media attention and seize the popular imagination in coverage that focuses mostly on technology aimed at finding interesting chemical candidates for the next breakthrough cure. But there’s a second, far more rarely covered role of data science in the quest for new cures, one that Andy Nicholls, GSK’s senior director and head of statistical data sciences, discusses inThe Data Science Innovator’s Playbook.

Many Other Roles for AI and ML Models

“The part of data science that people get excited about is machine learning, vision recognition, things like that. But for us, data science also has an impact in the approval process, where we have to prove that our drugs work and are safe,” says Nicholls.

“We reuse many of the same tools for analytics, visualization, analyzing safety data, and documentation, over and over,” he says.

“With data science, we have visualization tools, we can combine sources of data, and we can do things like share the database with the regulator,” Nicholls adds.

The Pharmaverse: A Collaborative Idea that Could Shorten Drug Approval Times

One emerging tool that promises to help speed approvals is the Pharmaverse, a set of tools, mostly in R, that help pharmaceutical firms better collaborate with regulators and share data, models, and software.

“The Pharmaverse is an idea based on looking at how data can be reused, and creating a bunch of vetted tools and results that streamline many parts of the end-to-end process of getting drugs approved,” Nicholls explains.

Domino recently interviewed Nicholls for its ebook on data science and its top innovators,The Data Science Innovator’s Playbook. For more on innovative uses of data science in medicine and other fields, download this 24-page ebook.

Other Featured Innovators Weigh in on Data Science and its Ascendancy

Download the free The Data Science Innovator’s Playbook to read more insights from Nishihara–as well from as many other top innovators–on the themes, strategies, and innovations that are making data science such a transformative force in business and beyond.. This exclusive content includes interviews from:

  • Cassie Kozyrkov—Chief Decision Scientist, Google
  • Andy Nicholls—Senior Director, Head of Statistical Data Sciences, GSK plc
  • Mona G. Flores—Global Head of Medical AI at NVIDIA
  • Robert Nishihara—Co-creator of Ray, and Co-founder & CEO, Anyscale
  • John K. Thompson—Analytics Thought Leader, Best-selling Author, Innovator in Data & Analytics
  • Glenn Hoffmann—Chief Analytics Officer, New York Life Insurance Co.

These innovators also offer career advice based on their own paths, and offer tips for developing and managing data science teams. Download The Data Science Innovator’s Playbook today.

Ebook  The Data Science Innovator's Playbook  Industry trends, career advice, and how to meet the world's biggest challenges. Read the book

Lisa Stapleton is a technology writer and editor in San Jose, CA. She has written and edited for Infoworld, InformationWEEK,, and many other business and technical publications. She is now Domino's Content Director.

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