Novartis and Microsoft announce collaboration to transform medicine with artificial intelligence

  • Multiyear alliance underpins the Novartis commitment to leverage data & Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform how medicines are discovered, developed and commercialized
  • Novartis to establish AI innovation lab to empower its associates to use AI across the business
  • 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 tackling personalized therapies for macular degeneration; cell & gene therapy; and drug design

Basel, and Redmond, October 1, 2019 - Novartis today announced an important step in reimagining medicine by founding the Novartis AI innovation lab and by selecting Microsoft as its strategic AI and data-science partner for this effort. 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.

As part of the strategic collaboration announced, Novartis and Microsoft have committed to a multi-year research and development effort. 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. The overall investment will include project funding, subject-matter experts, technology, and tools.

Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, said, "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."

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, added, "Our strategic alliance will combine Novartis’ life sciences expertise with the power of Azure and Microsoft AI. 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."

is a key strategic pillar that helps Novartis realize that ambition. Data science and digital technologies allow the company to reimagine how to innovate in R&D, engage with patients and customers, and increase operational efficiencies. Novartis focuses its efforts around four strategic digital priority areas:
1) Scaling 12 digital lighthouse projects: Build a strong foundation and jumpstart our digital transformation
2) Make Novartis digital: sharing, learning and talent acquisition
3) Becoming the #1 partner in the tech ecosystem: bridge Novartis with external expertise
4) Bolder moves: lead through future disruptive healthcare scenarios with large-scale partnerships


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