Spotlight On... IBM's Watson Health testing image analysis software; Startup gets CE mark for upper limb rehab robotics; FDA gives nod to Spectranetics cardiac balloon; and more...

IBM ($IBM) is scrambling to add software that can analyze radiological images to its Watson Health unit. The new feature under development will combine the supercomputer's established human language capabilities with new features for "seeing" medical images. Named after the ancient Islamic philosopher Avicenna, the software will interpret images differently based on family history and other contextual information that's provided. "No other company is attempting or envisioning that total integration of text, structured data, and medical imaging," Kenji Suzuki, associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology's medical imaging research center, told MIT Technology Review. In order to achieve commercialization, Avicenna will need to become more accurate and flexible. And integration into hospital IT systems and proof of economic benefit (reducing the risk of a lawsuit or lowering healthcare costs, for example) will be needed to drive sales if the software hits the market. IBM acquired billions of medical images via its billion-dollar acquisition of Merge Healthcare. In addition, Avicenna has the potential to access 50 million electronic health records thanks to last year's buyout of Cleveland Clinic spinoff Explorys. Story | More

@FierceMedDev: ICYMI: Nikon makes strategic investment in Thiel-backed cheap, safe handheld X-ray startup. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@EmilyWFierce: PhRMA is planning on spending millions this year to clean up the drug industry's tarnished rep. More from the WSJ (sub. req.) | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> Belgian startup Axinesis has received a CE mark for its interactive robotic device for rehabilitation of the impaired upper limbs of stroke patients and cerebral palsy children. More

> Spectranetics ($SPNC) has nabbed FDA clearance for its Bridge Occlusion Balloon for temporary vessel occlusion in cardiac lead extraction procedures. More

> Medtronic ($MDT) reports positive retrospective data for its iPro2 Professional CGM for Type 2 diabetes patients who have high rates of glycemic variability, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia regardless of treatment. More

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Baxalta partner CTI plunges after FDA slaps partial hold on PhIII myelofibrosis drug. Article | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: ICYMI: UPDATED: A patient in Akashi's suspended Duchenne MD trial dies. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

> Biogen joins a GSK-led data-sharing project to make R&D more efficient. Report

> Sarepta faces another FDA delay with its much-scrutinized DMD drug. Story

> AstraZeneca's cancer checkpoint combo looks promising in small lung cancer study. Article

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Report: Veterinary prices rise modestly as clinics charge more for routine services. FierceAnimalHealth story | Follow @FiercePharma

@CarlyHFierce: ICYMI: FDA shoots down Vertex's latest bid for Kalydeco expansion. Article | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Doctors pounce on 'alarmist,' 'horrifying' Novartis heart-failure ad. More

> Takeda-Teva JV 'could be a trendsetter' as Japan pushes for generics: analyst. Story

Animal Health News

> Scientists pinpoint contributions pets can make to human medicine. Report

> Currency woes overshadow Merck's 2015 growth in animal health. Item

> UPenn veterinary students to star in new Animal Planet reality show. Story

> Report: Veterinary prices rise modestly as clinics charge more for routine services. More

> Stem cell therapy developed to treat dental disease in cats could also help people. Article

Biotech IT News

> 454 Life Sciences, Ion Torrent founder raises $40M for tech-enabled drug development shop. Report

> In silico discovery platform drives forward Bavarian Nordic's MRSA vaccine program. More

> Buzz: Roche weighing up bid for Pacific Biosciences. Item

> U.K. looks to house software developers at planned cancer research hub. Story

> Illumina signs biobank deals to fuse genome data, EMRs. Article

Pharma Marketing News

> Docs take aim at Novartis' 'horrifying' Entresto ad. Article

> Valeant, AstraZeneca played the Super Bowl ad game, but did they win? Item

> GSK's slow-off-the-blocks Anoro gets a leg up from Incruse sidekick. Story

> Omega diet-aid ad banned in U.K.; summer slimming promos not 'socially responsible.' Article

> 'Safe' social network LinkedIn emerges as popular marketing tool for pharma. Report

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