IBM Watson, Teva partnership to create new medicines, tackle chronic diseases

The joint work will develop cognitive technologies to discover new uses for existing drugs.
By Bernie Monegain
11:57 AM

IBM Watson and pharmaceutical company Teva will expand their existing global eHealth alliance to focus on two key healthcare challenges: The discovery of new treatment options and improving chronic disease management.

Both projects will run on the IBM Watson Health Cloud.

The partners jointly announced their expanded plans on October 26 at the World of Watson conference in Las Vegas.

The partnership features a new, three-year research collaboration to develop cognitive technologies that enable a systematic approach to the emerging field of drug repurposing and deliver unprecedented scale in the discovery of new uses for existing drugs.

The companies also announced that respiratory and central nervous system diseases would be the first targets for their chronic disease management initiative, which will be the first project to integrate data from The Weather Company - an IBM Business - into the analysis. The joint work in chronic disease management emerges from Teva’s existing alliance with IBM as a Foundational Life Sciences Partner for the IBM Watson Health Cloud.

Professor Yitzhak Peterburg, Teva’s chairman of the board of directors, and IBM Chairwoman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty announced the initiative October 26 at the World of Watson event in Las Vegas:

“Teva’s products reach 200 million people every day with the world's largest medicine cabinet.” Rometty said. “We have the opportunity to lead change in the pharmaceutical industry, innovating constantly to meet consumers' evolving needs, added Peterburg. “By combining the skills of our partners, such as Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, with Teva's pharmaceutical expertise, we can create novel solutions and deliver real value to people,”

[See also: IBM’s superstar CEO Ginni Rometty’s short history lesson on women in health IT.] and [IBM CEO Ginni Rometty to keynote HIMSS17.]

“IBM and Teva’s announcements today are notable for two reasons,” Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health, said in a statement. “First, IBM’s work with Teva extends from the biopharmaceutical research bench to an individual’s medicine cabinet, underscoring the power of Watson cognitive computing across life sciences and healthcare. Second, this work includes the first integration of data from The Weather Company with the Watson Health Cloud, a milestone and demonstrable of how the definition of ‘health data’ is evolving.”