Lundbeck enlists IBM Watson to aid psychiatric drug research


IBM Watson has sealed a deal with yet another pharmaceutical company – this time with Lundbeck to create innovative medicines for disorders of the central nervous system.

The deal will see Lundbeck gaining access to millions of anonymised patient data through the Watson Health Cloud which it will then use to identify potential new drug targets initially for Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

“We strive to develop treatments that affect the underlying biological mechanisms of psychiatric and neurological disorders rather than treating only symptoms,” said Anders Gersel Pedersen, executive vice president of Research & Development at Lundbeck.

“By combining our expertise in brain research with IBM’s cognitive computer technology, we expect to improve our foundation for this work, so we can develop new and improved treatments for the 425 million people who suffer from the psychiatric and neurological disorders which Lundbeck focuses on.”

A collaboration with with the Copenhagen-headquartered CNS specialist firm will add to IBM Watson’s already long list of pharma deals. Its most recent deal prior to this one was with Celgene in order to create a new AI platform to improve patient safety.

In October last year, it revealed a partnership with Teva aimed at drug repurposing, and at the end of 2015, it teamed up with Novo Nordisk in the creation of a ‘virtual doctor’.

Outside of pharma, it has also been busy spreading its influence in general healthcare. Earlier this month, it unveiled a partnership with gene sequencing company Illumina to help with cancer genetics decision-making, significantly reducing the time it takes from raw genetic data to treatment decisions.

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Marco Ricci

25 January, 2017