Novartis and Microsoft team up to transform medicine with AI

Novartis has founded the Novartis AI innovation lab and by selected Microsoft as its strategic AI and data-science partner for this effort.

The new lab aims to significantly bolster Novartis AI capabilities from research through commercialisation and help accelerate the discovery and development of transformative medicines for patients worldwide.

As part of the strategic collaboration, Novartis and Microsoft have committed to a multi-year research and development effort. This strategic alliance will focus on two core objectives:

  • 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.
  • AI Exploration. The lab will use the power of AI to tackle some of the hardest computational challenges within the 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 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.”

Novartis is focusing itself as a leading medicines company powered by advanced therapies and data science. Going big on data and digital is a key strategic pillar that helps Novartis realise that ambition. Data science and digital technologies allow the company to reimagine how it innovates in R&D, engages with patients and customers, and increases operational efficiencies.

Novartis focuses its efforts around four strategic digital priority areas:

  • Scaling 12 digital lighthouse projects: Build a strong foundation and jumpstart digital transformation
  • Make Novartis digital: sharing, learning and talent acquisition
  • Becoming the #1 partner in the tech ecosystem: bridge Novartis with external expertise
  • Bolder moves: lead through future disruptive healthcare scenarios with large-scale partnerships

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