AI & Life Sciences

AI is making waves in the life science sector.

In recent years there has been a rapid uptake of AI technologies for  optimizing business practices or adding new functionalities. In the medical sector it is becoming increasingly common to utilize AI in the design phase when developing medical technology, including new drugs and medical devices.

The life science sector also handles large quantities of data that may arise from patient information diagnostics, medical records, biometrics or questionnaires. One of the great strengths of AI is the ability to quickly perform data collection, process that data, then draw meaningful inferences from the analysis.

Scottish Ecosystem

Scotland has a fertile opportunity to collaborate between academia, industry and the NHS to promote new advancements in the field of AI and be a world leader. In 2021, the Scottish Government unveiled their creation of an AI Hub for Life Sciences to promote AI development.

To check in on this development, we recently attended the National Innovation Event 2022 for Life Sciences which aims to promote collaboration and strengthen efforts between Scotland’s innovative and growing private Life Sciences sector and the needs of the local major healthcare provider, NHS Scotland. ICAIRD hosted an informative panel of leading AI experts in the Scottish chapter of this industry, detailing extensively the many benefits, and some of the challenges with furthering AI adoption in the sector.

A great deal of literature has already been published on the gains AI can make within a clinical R&D context, but the ability to automate and manage data offers many advantages for administrative, managerial and logistical tasks within the context of both large and small healthcare providers.

For example, the National Health Service, collectively the NHS Scotland, NHS England, NHS Wales and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland is the single largest employer in Europe at 1.7 million employees. This service is capable of immense scalability and public engagement, as well as the opportunity to reduce institutional inefficiencies across the entirety of the NHS, with the aid of AI.

Another relevant example would the NHS’s key performance indicators, with one of those being its pursuit of sustainability and working towards net zero, which requires monitoring data on the internal carbon footprint of organization and its external logistics network.

Intellectual Property & AI

Many life sciences companies developing or operating medical software have recognised the need to protect their critical competitive edge with healthcare AI IP. In recent years this resulted  in a rapid growth in patent filings, with more than 340,000 filings identified by WIPO.

The protection of software technology using the patent route differs between jurisdictions (See our previous articles on Computer implemented inventions and AI)

AI Systems Denied Status As Inventor For Lack of Personality.

G1/19 Decision on the Protection of Simulation Inventions. 

Computer Implemented Inventions In The US, Is Your Invention “Rooted In Computer Technology?”

In Europe and the UK there is a need to show that the algorithm in question can be related to a technical effect. Every case will be different and should be considered individually.

Scintilla has extensive electronic and software experience across legal systems in different jurisdictions, in particular the USA, which means we can offer pragmatic advice for start-ups and scaleups which have global ambitions in the field of AI. If you wish to know more about IP protection in software, book your free consultancy with Scintilla.


by Euan Devlin



At Scintilla, we help innovative companies get a grip on their intellectual property. Our unique commercial approach combines registration of patents and trade marks with strategic input so that IP can be a springboard for business growth. If you would like to discuss your IP needs, do contact us or book a free initial consultation!


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