Machines may be better than humans at a critical part of the drug-discovery process — and billions of dollars are riding on their abilities.

Driving the news: Google's DeepMind recently "beat seasoned biologists at predicting the shapes of proteins, the basic building blocks of disease," Bloomberg reports. Startups, big biotech companies and venture capital firms are all starting to take notice.

Why it matters: AI gets thrown around a lot in health care, and a lot of it's empty hype, but some kind of machine learning could have real potential to make the drug-development process faster and remove some of the trial and error, experts told Bloomberg.

  • A handful of drugs that have relied on early AI tools are already in human trials, and experts said identifying the best candidates for advanced trials may be one of the technology's biggest near-term capabilities.

By the numbers: AI startups with a focus on biotech pulled in more than $1 billion from VCs last year, according to Bloomberg. That's 4 times more than VCs invested just 2 years earlier.

Go deeper: How Google is a step ahead in the race to build health care AI

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 32,995,554 — Total deaths: 996,695 — Total recoveries: 22,850,774Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 7,115,008 — Total deaths: 204,756 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemic
  5. World: India second country after U.S. to surpass 6 million cases

Democrats demand Trump release his tax returns after NYT report

Compilation images of House Nancy Pelosi and President Trump. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats called on President Trump to disclose his tax returns following a New York Times report alleging he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in 10 of the past 15 years.

Details: Trump said the report was "total fake news," that he's unable to release the returns as they're "under audit" by the IRS, "which does not treat me well." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement the report "provides further evidence of the clear need" for a House lawsuit to access the tax returns and "ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized

Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager for President Trump's re-election campaign, at Drake University in January in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Fort Lauderdale police arrived at former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's home on Sunday after his wife called and said he was threatening to harm himself, Florida officials confirmed to Axios.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw told Axios officers responded to a report of "an armed male attempting suicide" just before 4 p.m. local time.