IBM, Novo Nordisk team to seek new diabetes treatments through the cloud

Novo EVP Jakob Riis

Danish pharma giant Novo Nordisk ($NVO) is teaming with IBM's ($IBM) Watson Health division in a combo the two companies hope will lead to a better understanding, and ultimately, better ways to treat diabetes.

By merging Novo's deep knowledge of diabetes with IBM's leadership in cognitive computing, executives are targeting the discovery of new insights into the disease that can, in turn, result in new treatments and devices, the companies said in a joint press release.

"Working with ambitious partners like IBM Watson Health helps us explore the opportunities presented by an increasingly digitalised healthcare system," Jakob Riis, Novo executive vice president, said. "We aim to leverage our combined capabilities to improve the lives of people with diabetes by making the management of the condition more simple, effective and measurable."

The partnership will utilize IBM's Watson Health Cloud, a cognitive computing platform delivered through the cloud that processes huge chunks of data. The system looks for patterns in the data, understands complex questions posed in natural language and can propose answers based on the evidence it uncovers.

In September, Irish CRO Icon ($ICLR) entered into a similar agreement with IBM to use Watson computing technology to pore over patients' clinical attributes and tab them for ideal studies in a given disease area.

Earlier this week, Novo announced it was moving ahead with its faster-acting insulin aspart, filing for FDA approval of the mealtime insulin for diabetes. Novo filed in the European Union last week. The insulin was studied in some 2,100 adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

- here's the release