We investigated the state of artificial intelligence (AI) in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) and outline here a risk and reward perspective regarding digital R&D. Given the novelty of the research area, a combined qualitative and quantitative research method was chosen, including the analysis of annual company reports, investor relations information, patent applications, and scientific publications of 21 pharmaceutical companies for the years 2014 to 2019. As a result, we can confirm that the industry is in an 'early mature' phase of using AI in R&D. Furthermore, we can demonstrate that, despite the efforts that need to be managed, recent developments in the industry indicate that it is worthwhile to invest to become a 'digital pharma player'.
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