Teva and IBM Expand e-Health Alliance
Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and US technology conglomerate IBM have expanded their existing global e-Health alliance to focus on two key healthcare challenges – the discovery of new treatment options and improving chronic disease management. Teva said the discovery of new uses for existing drugs is largely the result of serendipitous findings or isolated research and the aim of the three-year partnership is to design, build and deploy a systematic process for drug repurposing that will potentially become a blueprint across the industry.
“This collaboration will bring together the science and the technology to scale up ‘serendipity’ to an industrial level, opening up new and existing possibilities to create novel treatments for patients based on existing medicines,” said Michael Hayden, Teva’s president of global R&D and chief scientific officer.
The process will combine human insight with unique machine-learning algorithms and real-world evidence accessed through the IBM Watson Health Cloud – a cognitive computing technology – with the hope of revealing previously hidden correlations between a drug molecule and health conditions. Ajay Royyuru, director of healthcare & life sciences at IBM Research, said 80% of all health data is invisible to current technology systems because it is unstructured. “Using cognitive technologies to mine this data could reveal novel therapies for diseases that desperately need tackling,” he said.
The parties also announced that respiratory and central nervous system diseases will be the first targets for their chronic disease management initiative, which will be the first project to integrate data from The Weather Company (an IBM Business) into the analysis.
This project will combine cloud-connected drug delivery and app technology with more than six billion data points processed by IBM Watson to provide actionable insights. The data 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 other software interface.
“By combining the skills of our partners, such as Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, with Teva's pharmaceutical expertise, we can create novel solutions and deliver real value to people," said Yitzhak Peterburg, chairman of Teva's board of directors.