Mentions of artificial intelligence within the filings of companies in the pharmaceutical industry rose 24% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to artificial intelligence between July 2020 and June 2021 was 105% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which the data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When pharmaceutical companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Artificial intelligence is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether artificial intelligence is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of pharmaceutical companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned artificial intelligence at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 53% compared to 29% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to artificial intelligence.

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By GlobalData

Of the 50 biggest employers in the pharmaceutical industry, Lupin Ltd was the company that referred to artificial intelligence the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 141 artificial intelligence-related sentences in the India-based company's filings - 0.9% of all sentences. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd mentioned artificial intelligence the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.7% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high artificial intelligence mentions included Grifols SA, Astellas Pharma Inc and Johnson & Johnson.

Across all pharmaceutical companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on artificial intelligence came from Evotec SE. Of the document's 2,465 sentences, 24 (1%) referred to artificial intelligence.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the pharmaceutical industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning artificial intelligence more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into artificial intelligence have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, pharmaceutical companies based in Asia were most likely to mention artificial intelligence with 0.16% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned artificial intelligence in just 0.01% of sentences.