Teva and IBM Watson team up for drug repurposing

Teva Pharmaceuticals and IBM Watson are taking aim at drug repurposing and chronic disease management in a deal that will expand their global partnership.

In a new three-year deal, the companies will attempt to build a robust model for finding new roles for existing drugs by using real-world evidence and machine learning algorithms supplied by IBM Watson Health Cloud.

“Teva is a leader in innovation using existing molecules and IBM has pioneered Watson cognitive computing – it is a natural partnership,” said Michael Hayden, Teva’s president of Global R&D and chief scientific officer. “

This collaboration will bring together the science and the technology to scale up ‘serendipity’ to an industrial level, opening up new and exciting possibilities to create novel treatments for patients based on existing medicines.”

IBM Watson will also feature in the development of a chronic disease management platform. The software will be used to mine more than six million data points to provide actionable insights into conditions such as asthma. The project will integrate data from The Weather Company.

The intent is to build a platform capable of delivering these insights to caregivers via an app or other software interface to improve chronic disease management.

“Teva envisions a future where we can empower patients and their families to better understand diseases, like asthma, and cope with health challenges in a more systematic, data-driven manner, with the ability to be proactive, rather than reactive,” said Rob Koremans, president and CEO of Teva Global Specialty Medicines. “In doing so, we aim to cut treatment costs by providing patients, payers, healthcare providers and caregivers with relatable data that can inform action and insights into a patient’s total disease management plan.”

Teva is not the only company to invest in the concept of machine learning in drug repurposing. In January, Astellas sealed a deal with big data biotech NuMedii to identify new indications for a number of the company’s compounds.

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