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Novartis selects Microsoft for AI drug development

Published on 03/10/19 at 11:09am

Novartis has begun an alliance with Microsoft to leverage the latter’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology for the discovery, development and commercialisation of medicines.

Under the collaboration, Novartis established an AI innovation lab, where the pharmaceutical company’s datasets will be combined with Microsoft’s AI solutions to generate AI models and applications that can assist researchers.

The lab will also use AI for generative chemistry in addition to image segmentation and analysis to enable personalised treatments and at-scale optimisation of cell and gene therapies.

Novartis CEO, Vas Narasimhan, said: “As Novartis continues evolving into a focused medicines company powered by advanced therapy platforms and data science, alliances like this will help us deliver on our purpose to reimagine medicine to improve and extend patients’ lives.

“Pairing our deep knowledge of human biology and medicine with Microsoft’s leading expertise in AI could transform the way we discover and develop medicines for the world.”

Both companies will work together at numerous sites across the world including Switzerland, the Novartis Global Service Centre in Dublin and the Microsoft Research Lab in the UK.

Initially, the research will aim to focus on personalised therapies for macular degeneration, cell and gene therapies and drug design.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said: “Our strategic alliance will combine Novartis’ life sciences expertise with the power of Azure and Microsoft AI.

“Together, we aim to address some of the biggest challenges facing the life sciences industry today and bring AI capabilities to every Novartis employee so they can unlock new insights as they work to discover new medicines and reduce patient costs.”

Nik Kiran

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