IBM Watson, Novartis join forces on breast cancer

Under their partnership, IBM and Novartis aim to find the best combinations and sequences of treatment for breast cancer patients.

IBM and Novartis are teaming up on a cognitive solution aimed at improving care and outcomes for breast cancer patients.

Novartis will bring its breast cancer expertise, while IBM will contribute its data analytics and machine learning chops, the Swiss pharma said in a statement. The collaboration seeks to use real-world data to better understand the expected outcomes of various breast cancer treatments.

IBM markets Watson tools that help oncologists make treatment decisions for cancer patients and facilitate the matching of patients to clinical trials. Meanwhile, Novartis markets four breast cancer drugs, including the newly FDA-approved Kisqali, and has a number of candidates in its pipeline.


Webinar: Meet the Challenge of Complex Protein Expression

As market demand continues to rise for more potent and effective therapeutics, biologic pipelines are evolving from standard antibody formats to next-generation biologics (NGBs). In this webinar we will discuss and demonstrate application through case studies, two significant enhancements to Lonza’s GS Xceed® expression system to help address the challenges of NGBs.

RELATED: IBM Watson, Broad Institute team up on $50M cancer drug resistance project

"Through this collaboration with IBM Watson Health, we will use real-world breast cancer data and cognitive computing to identify solutions that may help physicians better understand which therapy may be best for which patients or advise clinical practice guidelines, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and experiences," said Bruno Strigini, CEO of Novartis Oncology, in the statement. The project could lay the groundwork to improve outcomes in other cancers, Novartis said.

"As the industry shifts toward value-based care, it's critical for clinicians to understand the real-world outcomes of therapeutics on subsets of their patients, and our goal ultimately is to put those insights into oncologists' hands,” said Anil Jain, M.D., chief medical informatics officer at IBM Watson Health, in the statement. “With the deep expertise of Novartis in breast cancer, we are confident that this collaboration may provide transformative tools for clinicians and patients to make more informed treatment decisions."

RELATED: Novartis sees gaps in cancer pipeline but is adamant it doesn’t need an I-O deal

The announcement comes after IBM presented data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting that showed its Watson for Oncology tool agreed with oncologists on treatment decisions most of the time.

And on Sunday, IBM announced it is partnering with Baheal Pharmaceutical Group to expand Watson’s footprint in China. This follows the rollout of Watson for Oncology to 22 hospitals in China, announced last summer.

Suggested Articles

J&J’s Ethicon unit received an FDA clearance for its Vistaseal applicators that spray a biologic sealant from Grifols to help stem surgical bleeding.

Gilead Sciences is paying Nurix $45 million upfront in a deal that could reach $2.3 billion in value if all milestones are met and royalties realized.

Bio-Techne’s urine test has received a breakthrough device designation from the FDA for ruling out unnecessary tissue biopsies.