AstraZeneca data and AI ethics

How is AstraZeneca making advances in data and Artificial Intelligence?

Rapid advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionising the pharmaceutical industry. At AstraZeneca, these advances have already begun to change the way we work in several business areas. AI systems can help us better understand diseases and match patients with the right clinical trials by creating biological insight knowledge graphs.

Also, AI systems can enable us to automate processes using robotics and improve our supply chain when delivering medicines; helping us to design clinical trials in a faster, smarter way that develops our medicines more efficiently to serve patients’ needs. In addition, AI allows us to provide customised training and support to our employees, to further their career development. AI tools have the potential to do this and much more.

AI-augmented research can revolutionise biomedical research, and requires open and transparent data sharing to fulfil its promise. We are calling on all who share our values to work with us in our continued efforts to strengthen data sharing and collaboration in research.

Mene Pangalos EVP and President BioPharmaceuticals R&D

Why data and AI ethics matters to us

Along with excitement and opportunity, AI systems bring new ethical considerations. At AstraZeneca, we pride ourselves on living our values in everything we do – from our environmental efforts to upholding labour rights in our supply chain. This includes applying the same values to our work with data and AI. We are addressing these considerations with our five principles for data and AI ethics. We aim to maximise the benefits of AI, driving human and machine to embody our company values.

AstraZeneca has embedded several AI systems across our business, and we are optimistic about leveraging its transformative power in the way we work. Data, AI and digital is a foundational pillar of our scientific approach, and its governance a key priority as part of the Ethics and Transparency pillar of our sustainability strategy. It is also part of our company-wide Code of Ethics.

AstraZeneca’s principles for ethical data and AI

Rapid developments in AI technology have brought us in to uncharted territory, and companies and regulators must work together to meet the new challenges posed. Our principles will empower us and our partners to navigate this new environment safely and effectively. By encouraging innovation and evolution while maintaining our values, they provide a long-term ethical foundation to uphold our AI governance.

During 2020 we engaged a diverse range of experts both inside and outside AstraZeneca to develop principles aligned with our Code of ethics and values. These values work for patients and employees and enable AstraZeneca to make a positive contribution to society.

An ethical approach is vital to ensuring the benefits of AI are shared by all. We welcome the guidelines which have already emerged from regulators around the world – but there is more to be done. We want to work with regulators and partners to help shape a sustainable environment for innovative and responsible AI to thrive.

Katarina Ageborg EVP, Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer

Living our principles

Our principles reflect how we work across the company. We are determined to learn and continuously integrate the principles in to our ways of working. We are proud of the work we have already started- including implementing an AI Governance Framework and a Playbook to help our AI developers and users do the right thing. This is our starting point: continuous learning is part of our culture. We recognise this is an emerging area in regulation and public expectations. We will continue to evolve our thinking and approach to Data and AI Ethics as these areas mature.

Clink on the links below to learn more about each principle. 

Veeva ID: Z4-27343
Date of Preparation: October 2020