Novartis signs ophthalmology AI deal with RetinAI


Novartis has signed a multi-year agreement with RetinAI, which will see the companies work together to use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to support ophthalmology and digital health projects.

Both companies have already worked on pilot projects in this area.

The first project under a new master agreement will involve a multi-centre international clinical study involving patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD).

The study is designed to investigate the influence of optical coherence tomography image solutions, while using AI to assess disease activity.

The study will be conducted in several clinical centres in several European countries and Canada, involving more than 500 patients.

RetinAI will provide its CE-marked web-based platform, RetinAI Discovery, a data management platform that processes data at scale across imaging platforms and devices.

The technology is already used by professionals to navigate imaging data, compute imaging biomarkers and track changes over time for common eye diseases.

It also allows diagnostic analyses and clinical workflows as well as patient monitoring and adherence to treatment.

Dirk Sauer, global development head of the ophthalmology franchise at Novartis, said he saw RetinAI as a strategic partner for advancing eye care through digital innovation.

He said: “With previous projects, RetinAI’s services have enabled us to enhance and more efficiently structure retina scans and data collected from our clinical studies.

“Together with RetinAI, we are working on end-to-end solutions to generate swift and comprehensive disease insights to better treat patients and improve patient outcomes.”

Since Vas Narasimhan was appointed CEO more than two years ago, the company has made adoption of digital technology one of its priorities.

The idea is to use digital technology to enhance the company’s portfolio of pharmaceutical products.

One of Narasimhan’s first decisions when he took charge was to appoint chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson, who joined the company’s executive committee shortly after he joined.