New Practices of NLP in a Nordic Pharmaceutical

Novo Nordisk and their use of NLP

I recently read an article written by Jane Z. Reed about NLP and pharmaceutical companies.

Her article is more about how the industry is using NLP than any theoretical discussion.

It must be said straight away that her role is not neutral in this regard as she is the at Linguamatics, an IQVIA company. They are selling NLP services.

In that manner this reads much like a pitch — with a case study as a suggestion to offer her services. Having said that, this does not make her writing less interesting. Rather, it is important to consider someone working with the commercial application of NLP.

The goal of Linguamatics is to:

She argues that the science behind drug development has become more complex.

In that sense drug-development partners such as biotech startups and university technology transfer offices.

She talks of the Novo Nordisk company as a case :

So, how can NLP be used for ‘intelligence-gathering’ in the pharmaceutical industry?

She argues the greatest challenge is in:

Established pharmaceutical companies are looking for new information on:

  • Drug development.
  • Targets and pathways.
  • Biotech companies.
  • University technology offerings.
  • Clinical trials.

To find these structured and unstructured sources must be examined. Reed mentions:

  • News reports.
  • Patent filings.
  • Scientific papers.
  • Conference abstracts

→ She says this goes towards an “evidence hub.”

The is a curated, data-driven landscape of knowledge.

That does not sound very convincing.

However, she talks of a case with Novo Nordisk.

She suggests text mining as a way to tackle this:

She describes one process:

  1. NLP is used in a semi-automated workflow.
  2. The workflow uses a suite of NLP queries over data streams coming in from news, patents, scientific literature, conference abstracts and more.
  3. The resulting outputs are curated into summaries, written by information scientists with experience in the respective therapy areas.
  4. These are provided via InfoDesk as easy-to-consume alerts to the broader Novo Nordisk researchers.

As such, this is a process of intelligence gathering as outline earlier, certainly structured in a manner, to an extent that makes it more than simply buzzwords.

In addition to this they had a goal ofmembers of research team to serve as for new partnership opportunities.

Two tools were developed to assist researchers in becoming scouts. One was a newsletter and the second a dashboard with up-to-date ‘landscapes’ for each therapeutic area of interest.

An NLP process in Novo Nordisk

Reed then proceeds to describe a process in Novo Nordisk.

Clearly, this is one application. One way of gathering information.

Soon, according to Reed, they are planning for Novo Nordisk to:

This is a short insight into commercial NLP in the pharmaceutical industry.

What do you think about these practices?

Let me know with a response.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.