Novartis and IBM Watson form breast cancer pact

Novartis and IBM Watson have formed a new partnership aimed at improving outcomes in advanced breast cancer.

The companies will create a cognitive platform capable of using real-world data to better predict treatment effects on patients.

The goal is to create software that provides better insights to oncologists, ultimately leading to more informed treatment decisions and better patient outcomes.

The deal comes hot on the heels of the presentation of new data from a Novartis-sponsored Watson feasibility study at ASCO.

In the study, Watson for Clinical Trial Matching reduced time required to screen patients for clinical trials by 78%.

“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, Novartis Oncology. “We hope this collaboration also uncovers care efficiencies that can be applied beyond breast cancer.”

Novartis’ cancer portfolio already includes the likes of Afinitor (everolimus), Tykerb/Tyverb (lapatinib), Femara (letrozole) and the recently FDA-approved Kisqali (ribociclib).

The company also has numerous breast cancer drugs in development. These include alpha-specific PI3K inhibitor BYL719 (alpelisib); an oral selective oestrogen receptor degrader, LSZ102; anti-HER3 IgG1 antibody, LJM716; and colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) inhibitor, MCS110.

“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, chief medical informatics officer at IBM Watson Health. “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.”

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