A new autonomous lab being built in the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy will help to design and optimize formulations that will improve bioavailability, stability and efficacy of a variety of drugs, according to a recent article by Education News Canada.
Christine Allen, a professor in the faculty whose research focuses on drug development and disease diagnostics, is co-leading the lab with Frank Gu, a professor in the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
“I see huge potential for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation in pharmaceutical sciences, for formulations and beyond,” says Allen, an expert in drug formulations.
“The world is finally understanding the impact of formulation technology and how powerful it is. Now we can marry that technology with AI and machine learning, so we’re kind of unstoppable.”
The new facility is known as a ‘self-driving’ lab because it uses AI, automation and advanced computing to test different combinations of materials and iteratively develop the best formulations. This approach will allow researchers to evaluate a much larger number of materials, significantly reducing both the cost and time required to identify a new drug formulation.