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Novartis and Microsoft Partner to Transform Medicine with AI


The AI innovation lab could help accelerate the discovery of transformative medicines.


Novartis today announced the founding of its artificial intelligence (AI) innovation lab and a strategic partnership with Microsoft. The collaboration aims to use AI and data science to transform medicine and computational challenges within life sciences.

The lab could bolster the Swiss pharmaceutical giant’s AI capabilities and help accelerate the discovery of transformative medicines.

The multi-year research and development strategic collaboration will focus on two objectives:

  • AI Empowerment. The lab will bring together data from Novartis and Microsoft’s AI solutions to create new models and applications that help associates improve challenges in medicine.
  • AI Exploration. The lab will use AI to improve challenges in generative chemistry, image segmentation and analysis for personalized therapy delivery and optimization of cell and gene therapies.

“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,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

The companies also hope to develop and apply next-generation AI platforms and processes that support future programs. The investment will include project funding, subject matter experts, technology and tools, the companies said.

Novartis sees great potential in applying AI, machine learning and data science techniques across the entire care pathway.

“(AI) offers huge potential to transform healthcare and the way we understand health,” said Shahram Ebadollahi, Ph.D., the global head of data and AI at Novartis, and Ann Aerts, M.D., head of the Novartis Foundation. “It can shift countries’ health systems from being reactive to proactive — and even predictive.”

Vas Narsimhan, M.D., CEO of Novartis, aims to “transform Novartis into a leading medicines company powered by advanced therapy platforms and data science — making AI a core part of (its) future,” Ebadollahi and Aerts said.

“…Alliances like this will help us deliver on our purpose to reimagine medicine to improve and extend patients’ lives,” Narsimhan said.

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