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Novartis cooperates with Microsoft | NZZ



 Novartis wants to describe new digital pathways in drug development: Campus of the company in Basel. (Georgios Kefalas / Keystone)

Novartis wants to describe new digital pathways in drug development: The Campus of Business in Basel. (Georgios Kefalas / Keystone)

Both companies bundle their capacities in the field of artificial intelligence to accelerate the development of new drugs. It's hugely versatile. However, this experience indicates that such an industry-wide cooperation can also lead to failure. Since Bertrand Bodson took over the newly created post as Chief Digital Officer in January 2018, a whole series of projects has been launched that will lead the pharmaceutical companies in the new era of analysis large volumes of data. The necessary expansion of the capacities was followed by many domestic companies, or to join small start-up companies to test, for example, new instruments in the field of artificial intelligence.

greater leap and start a collaboration with the IT group Microsoft. The goal of the collaboration that is to extend over five years is to bundle the artistic intelligence capacities of both companies and to exploit an innovation push in the pharmaceutical business. The creation of an AI Innovation Lab with locations on the Novartis Campus in Basel, at the Global Service Center of the Company in Dublin, as well as the Microsoft Research Lab in the United Kingdom, has been foreseen. Bodson made no statement about the personnel stock of this new facility and the extent of the planned investments. It was emphasized that both companies would bring financial resources into this project.

The enhanced technology potential should serve to accelerate the development of new drugs and market leadership. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it is hoped, it may be possible, to efficiently process the huge amounts of clinical data that may occur in studies or in the treatment of patients in hospitals. In this way, new interrelationships of substances and new therapeutic possibilities should be discovered. On the other hand, it is also worth noting that the Company's Foreign Service Co-Provider has, at your contacts with the physicians and hospitals, available data-based analytical tools that allow you to present better therapy options for patients or optimized doses of medication. And not least should artificial intelligence be used in the financial field as well, if there are reliable long-term forecasts about sales development.

Success is not guaranteed

Whether or not you actually realize the potential is another question. As you recall, Basler decided in 2014, together with the Internet company Google, to develop and bring an "intelligent contact lens" to the market. A lens was fitted with sensors and microchips that should be set up for medical purposes – for example, for the treatment of diabetes. The project remained successful and ended in song and soundless by the end of 2018. The Google Novartis project is hardly comparable to the Microsoft Novartis project, but points out that such an industry-wide collaboration is not free from the trap.


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