Novartis and Microsoft partner on AI Strategy for Drug Development

Novartis & Microsoft collaborate using AI in durg discovery

Date: 2nd October 2019

Novartis and Microsoft are revolutionising the future of drug development by combining advanced AI technology with deep life science expertise.

The digitisation of science is being embraced at an astonishing speed.  No longer viewed as the exclusive realm of the futurist, it is fast becoming reality and those prepared to embrace it into their science are opening-up new possibilities.

A fundamental part of digital science is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and, as part of broader AI strategies, many countries now have policies promoting its use.  Earlier this year the American AI Initiative  and subsequent launch of their dedicated website was announced, and in the UK we reported a few weeks ago a large investment into new tech by the UK government.

This drive into Industry 4.0 is also bringing together expertise from a wide, and once disparate group of establishments, who are now seeking synergies across competencies and goals by engaging in new and exciting collaborations and partnerships.

Microsoft is one such company driving their technology into many areas of science.   Their vision is being realised through strategic collaborations with a wide variety of enterprises.  We reported back in March, the partnership of Microsoft with Oxford Biomedica, Princetown University and Synthace with the release of Station B, a platform aimed to improve all phases of workflow typically used for programming biological systems.

Now Microsoft have caught the eye of Novartis, a company re-imagining medicine. Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis are developing breakthrough treatments powered by data and digital technologies. 

Novartis announced yesterday the founding of the Novartis AI innovation lab and have selected Microsoft as its strategic AI and data-science partner for this venture. 

The aim of the new lab is to increase the AI capability of Novartis and accelerate the discovery and development of medicines, transforming patient lives.

AI accelerates drug discovery


At its core, the multi-year commitment will see 2 areas of focus:  AI empowerment and AI exploration

  • AI empowerment will give access to AI for every associate, bringing this powerful tool to their desktop. The creation of new AI models and applications utilising huge data sets from Novartis along with Microsoft’s advanced AI solutions will amplify the next generation of medicines.
  • AI exploration will be applied to the most complex computational challenges within life science and will be approached by the integration AI into these fields. The vision to create personalised, smart delivery of therapies, and optimise cell and gene therapies with a view to successful commercialisation.

Next generation of AI-driven therapies

The collaboration between Microsoft and Novartis, is an exciting development into the integration of AI into our medicines.  Although initially based on existing technologies it is likely to progress into the development and application of the next-generation of AI platforms.

As we reported last week with the release of the FDA guidelines for digital health tool development, we hope that strong frameworks, visibility and data management feature strongly behind any resultant clinical applications.

For more information please follow the press release.