Novartis partners with Oxford University to bring AI to medicine
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Novartis partners with Oxford University to bring AI to medicine

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is partnering with Oxford University’s Big Data Institute (BDI) to try and use artificial intelligence (AI) to predict how patients will respond to “new and existing treatments for inflammatory diseases” such as psoriasis or multiple sclerosis. The partnership will take the form of a five-year research alliance, utilising data from five million UK patients, as well as anonymised records from Novartis’ clinical trials.

So far this year, Novartis’ share price has increased by 4%

graph 22 novartis

Source: Yahoo Finance

Novartis UK’s chief science officer made the following comment: “This partnership with the BDI is aligned with the UK’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and offers the opportunity to expand our understanding and capabilities in data science at scale. As a leading medicines company driven by data and digital, Novartis expects the collaboration with the BDI to enhance its capabilities in data science and analytics.”

The move is the latest in a pivot initiated by Novartis’ new CEO (well, new as of last February) Vas Narasimhan. His goal is to lead the company through a “digital transformation” which will see Novartis dial up its capabilities in some of the Big Tech that’s migrating towards the healthcare world (Big Data, deep learning algorithms, and other fashionable phrases).

This particular partnership will see Novartis leveraging “innovations in IT and AI technology” to scour data for patterns across multiple sources (imaging, genomics, clinical data, etc.). The goal is to “identify insights into characteristics of complex diseases to understand what drives progression, and understand any similarities between diseases.”

Between them, the two organisations are hoping (first) to make a difference in the worlds of multiple sclerosis, dermatology and rheumatology. If they’re successful, who knows what the process could be used for next?


Dominion holds Novartis in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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