Microsoft to help Novartis leverage AI for drug development

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 02, 2019 21:00 hrs

The alliance has the potential to unlock the power of AI to help Novartis accelerate research into new treatments for many of the thousands of diseases for which there is, as yet, no known cure, according to the pharmaceutical major.

"Central to our work together is a focus on empowering Novartis associates at each step of drug development to use AI to unlock the insights hidden in vast amounts of data, even if they aren't data scientists," Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Healthcare, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

"That's because while the exponential increase in digital health information in recent years offers new opportunities to improve human health, making sense of all the data is a huge challenge," Lee said.

The issue is not just a problem of the overwhelming volume. Much of the information exists in the form of unstructured data, such as research lab notes, medical journal articles, and clinical trial results, all of which is typically stored in disconnected systems.

This makes bringing all that data together extremely difficult.

"Our two companies have a dream. We want all Novartis associates - even those without special expertise in data science - to be able to use Microsoft AI solutions every day, to analyze large amounts of information and discover new correlations and patterns critical to finding new medicines," Lee said.