Pharmaceutical companies have begun increasingly recruiting technologists from companies like Google and Microsoft’s LinkedIn.

CNBC reports, GlaxsoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson are just a handful of companies who have adopted the new practice. The goal is to hire engineers to help modernise the processes that big pharma uses to discover and develop new drugs.

According to a GSK spokesperson, chief data officer, Mark Ramsey, is looking to hire dozens more employees from some of the largest technological companies in the world.

He sees a number of opportunities for technology workers to build machine learning tools that analyse health information. One example of which is an ongoing project, depending on a green-light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to use previously-collected clinical trial data as an alternative to a control arm in a study.

This has the potential to reduce the cost of clinical trials, and provide a better experience for patients. Clinical trial recruitment is an area also taking charge. Researchers are finding that its much easier, cheaper and reliable enough to find candidates via mobile technologies, versus the alternatives, which involve broad targeting with radio or paper-based ads.

However, the big challenge for pharma is to build awareness in the tech community. Ramsey explained that its part of his job to educate talented engineers and product managers about “all the cool things that are happening in pharma,” and not to be intimidated if they don’t have a health background.

He continued by revealing that about 80% of his team has no life sciences experience at all.