IBM and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said Wednesday they would significantly expand their existing global e-Health alliance with a focus on two key healthcare areas: the discovery of new treatment options and improving chronic disease management.
Both projects will run on the IBM Watson Health Cloud, the two companies said in a statement. The IBM Watson Health Cloud is a health-data enabled platform-as-a-service which is designed to help healthcare organizations derive individualized insights and obtain a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people’s health based on machine learning.
The expanded partnership underlines the increased convergence of drugs discovery and treatments with cognitive computing, which aims to improve and better target medication for patients, increase effectiveness and lower costs.
The companies said the expanded cooperation envisages a new, three-year research collaboration to develop new technologies that will enable a systematic approach to help repurpose drugs and aid in the discovery of new uses for existing drugs, the joint statement said.
Thirty percent of regulatory approvals by the FDA in recent years have been for new uses of previously approved drugs and vaccines. A repurposing approach to drug discovery and development aims to streamline the time- and cost-intensive process of bringing new therapies to market, which can take the industry up to 20 years and cost in excess of $2.5 billion.
The aim of the new collaboration between Teva and IBM Research is to design, build, and set out a systematic process for drug repurposing, potentially becoming a blueprint for use across the industry, the companies said in a statement. The process will combine human insight with unique machine learning algorithms and real-world evidence accessed through the IBM Watson Health Cloud. IBM Watson Health Cloud technology will be applied “on a massive scale” with the aim of revealing previously hidden correlations between a drug molecule and health conditions, the statement said.
Teva and IBM also said 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 IBM’s The Weather Company, a weather forecasting company, into the analysis.
Chronic diseases present a global burden, both on patients and on healthcare systems, the statement said.