Interview: Henry Che, Gilead Sciences

Attending the AI Applications in Biopharma Summit was a contributing step towards Gilead’s goal of implementing AI technology


2017 Summit Attendee Henry Che (HC), Director of R&D Information Systems, Gilead Sciences talks about the progress he and his colleagues have made on the goals they set at the 2017 Summit and how identifying the right vendors is helping them build a business case for integrating AI.

AI Applications in Biopharma Summit 2017

  • At the 2017 AI Applications in Biopharma Summit, attendees were asked to set goals for the coming year.  What goals did you set for yourself and your team at Gilead?
    HC: We had goals coming into the Summit which is why Linesh John and I attended. The reason we were interested in attending, and flew across the country to do so is we  have an initiative within our pharmacovigilance case processing side to explore how AI could make things more efficient. We started casting a wide net to learn more about the space and attending the summit was one step towards that goal.

  • A feature of the Summit is to report back to your fellow attendees on your progress, how are you progressing on your goals from the Summit?
    HC: In the 6 months since the Summit, we’re steadily progressing on our initiative and having identified 14 different vendors, we are working towards building a business case for integrating AI into our case processing.  We’ve done
    all the leg work, as far as sifting through the hype and finding the vendors who actually do these things; identifying the right vendors took tremendous effort.  As part of the business case we are looking at our cost now of doing case processing vs. what our projected costs savings could be using AI; and are documenting the formula and tangible benefits in terms of dollars saved.

  • How are you seeing industry adoption of AI/ML changing? Either from last year to this year or is the speed of adoption and change faster than what he would have thought, slower or about where you thought it would be?
    HC: I don’t know if it’s industry adoption per se, but we’ve become aware of our peers in pharma and biotech who are looking at it. They are either ahead of us or on the same pace as us in implementing AI.  We’re in good company.  We’ve heard of one company who is implementing or signed a deal to implement AI in case processing.  It is clear that the Industry is all onboard and exploring uses for AI.

  • Looking at the program for the 2018 Summit, who are you looking forward to meeting and having 1-to-1 conversations with?
    HC: Milind Kamkolkar, Chief Data Officer from Sanofi is high on my list to meet.