– Novartis to establish the Novaris AI innovation lab and has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft as its AI and data science partner.
– AI Innovation lab will leverage Novartis datasets with Microsoft’s advanced AI solutions, the lab will aim to create new AI models and applications to transform medicine.
– Novartis and Microsoft’s strategic alliance will focus on the two core objectives of AI Empowerment and AI Exploration.
Novartis announced the formation of the Novartis AI innovation and has formed a strategic multi-year research and development partnership with Microsoft to reimagine medicine through artificial intelligence (AI). The new lab aims to bolster Novartis AI capabilities from research through commercialization and help accelerate the discovery and development of transformative medicines for patients worldwide.
Novartis/Microsoft Strategic Alliance Core Objectives
This strategic alliance will focus on two core objectives:
1. AI Empowerment
The lab will aim to bring the power of AI to the desktop of every Novartis associate. By bringing together vast amounts of Novartis datasets with Microsoft’s advanced AI solutions, the lab will aim to create new AI models and applications that can augment our associates’ capabilities to take on the next wave of challenges in medicine.
2. AI Exploration
The lab will use the power of AI to tackle some of the hardest computational challenges within life sciences, starting with generative chemistry, image segmentation & analysis for smart and personalized delivery of therapies and optimization of cell and gene therapies at scale.
Microsoft and Novartis will also collaborate to develop and apply next-generation AI platforms and processes that support future programs across these two focus areas.
Joint Research Activities
Joint research activities will include co-working environments on Novartis Campus (Switzerland), at Novartis Global Service Center in Dublin, and at Microsoft Research Lab (UK) starting with:
1. Personalized treatment for macular degeneration – a leading cause of irreversible blindness
2. Cell & Gene Therapy: exploring ways to use AI to make manufacturing new gene and cell therapies more efficient, with an initial focus on acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
3. Drug Design: focus on using AI to shorten the time required to design new medicines, using pioneering neural networks developed by Microsoft to automatically generate, screen and select promising molecules.
The Bigger Picture
In the world of commercial research and science, there’s probably no undertaking more daunting – or more expensive – than the process of bringing a new medicine to market. For a new compound to make it from initial discovery through development, testing and clinical trials to finally earn regulatory approval can take a decade or more. Nine out of 10 promising drug candidates fail somewhere along the way. As a result, on average, it costs life sciences companies $2.6 billion to introduce a single new prescription drug.
For life sciences companies, streamlining drug development is a vital issue for human health more broadly. From uncovering new ways to treat age-old sicknesses like malaria that still kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, to finding new cancer treatments, or developing new vaccines to prevent highly-contagious diseases from turning into global pandemics, the impact in terms of lives saved worldwide would be enormous if we could make inventing new medicines faster.
These challenges are the key drivers for Novartis and Microsoft teaming up to explore how to find new ways to address drug development by leveraging Microsoft’s AI technology combined with Novartis’ robust life sciences expertise.
“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, “said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis.