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October 28, 2016
Teva Pharmaceuticals and IBM announced on Oct. 26, 2016 that the companies have expanded their global partnership to focus on drug development and chronic disease management. In a press announcement, Teva said these new projects will run on the IBM Watson Health Cloud. The expanded partnership includes a three-year research collaboration to develop cognitive technologies that enable a systematic approach to drug repurposing, or discovering new uses for existing drugs.
“Working together, Teva and IBM create an unprecedented opportunity to help doctors and patients worldwide achieve the promise of personalized healthcare,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health in a press release. “IBM and Teva’s announcements today are notable for two reasons. First, IBM’s work with Teva extends from the biopharmaceutical research bench to an individual’s medicine cabinet-underscoring the power of Watson cognitive computing across life sciences and healthcare. Second, this work includes the first integration of data from The Weather Company with the Watson Health Cloud, a milestone and demonstrable of how the definition of ‘health data’ is evolving.”
In a statement, Teva said a repurposing approach to drug discovery and development is intended to streamline the time- and cost-intensive process of bringing new therapies to market, which can take the industry up to 20 years and cost in excess of $2.5 billion. Medicines that have regulatory clearance have been comprehensively tested, resulting in known safety and efficacy profiles that may significantly reduce the drug development burden. New uses, formulations, and delivery innovations for previously approved medicines have the potential to come to market quickly and address unmet medical needs, the company noted.
The aim of the new collaboration between Teva and IBM Research is to design, build, and deploy a systematic process for drug repurposing. The process will combine human insight with machine-learning algorithms and real-world evidence accessed through the IBM Watson Health Cloud. IBM Watson Health Cloud technology will be applied on a large scale with the aim of revealing previously hidden correlations between a drug molecule and health conditions.
“There is so much data out there that is currently underutilized, yet has the potential to significantly inform drug repurposing. Eighty percent of all health data is invisible to current technology systems because it’s unstructured,” said Ajay Royyuru, IBM fellow and director of Healthcare & Life Sciences for IBM Research in a statement. “Using cognitive technologies to mine these data could reveal novel therapies for diseases that desperately need tackling. By teaming up with Teva, our belief is we will gain insights that can lead pharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines that benefit patients worldwide.”
The expanded partnership also includes the development of a chronic disease management system, which combines cloud-connected drug delivery and application technology. Watson’s cognitive processing capabilities and algorithms may be used to calculate the prospective risk of health events, such as an asthma attack, with Teva delivering that information directly to caregivers and their patients via an app or another software interface. The offering is designed to help healthcare organizations derive individualized insights and obtain a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people’s health.