IBM today announced several new partnerships, two new cloud-based computing services, and a new general manager—all tied to the opening of its new IBM Watson Health global headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

Watson Health's global headquarters, located at 75 Binney Street in Cambridge's Kendall Square, will serve as a home base for more than 700 IBM employees, the computing giant said.

IBM named five new partners that will work with IBM Watson for healthcare-related applications that include drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, chronic disease management, pediatrics, and digital health. The five include Boston Children’s Hospital, Columbia University, ICON, Sage Bionetworks—and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Teva will be the first global pharmaceutical company to tap the Watson Health Cloud, IBM said, in a strategic partnership intended to benefit patients and healthcare providers. The Watson Health Cloud—launched in April along with IBM Watson Health—provides an open development platform for physicians, researchers, insurers, and companies focused on creating health and wellness solutions.

Watson Health Cloud draws upon Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy!-winning cognitive computing platform, which is capable of interacting in natural language, as well as uncovering patterns and insights from Big Data.

Teva has been named the Watson Health Cloud’s first foundational life sciences partner, with the drug developer using the cloud service as a preferred global technology platform for solutions designed to help millions of patients worldwide with asthma, pain, migraine, and neurodegenerative diseases among other complex and chronic conditions.

Teva will collaborate with IBM on long-range platform and solutions development designed to enhance IBM Watson Health Cloud capabilities and explore synergies with existing Watson Health ecosystem partners. Teva said it expects to develop solutions designed to collect and analyze real world evidence, draw powerful insights, and inform a variety of initiatives such as reducing drug misuse or increasing prescribed medication adherence.

Also, a joint Teva-IBM Research team will deploy Big Data and machine learning technology to create disease models and advanced therapeutic solutions. IBM’s Global Business Services will work closely with a Teva Analytics team to assess the data and the analytics model requirements for IBM’s Real World Evidence e-health solution.

“Teva is actively exploring the e-health evolution with a strong focus on fulfilling unmet and emerging patients' needs. The IBM Watson Health Cloud provides a strong foundation on which we can realize this vision,” Guy Hadari, SVP and CIO for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, said in a statement. “Watson holds promise to provide Teva with better insights, real-time feedback and options for clinicians to consider to improve patient care.”

Teva joins Sage Bionetworks in declaring Watson Health Cloud as their preferred development platforms. Sage will use Watson Health Cloud to power its Open Biomedical Research Platform for Sage to aggregate, store, curate, and analyze data collected via apps using ResearchKit. Sage currently has active ResearchKit projects in breast cancer and Parkinson's Disease.

Sage and IBM said they will collaborate to integrate the IBM Watson Health Cloud with Sage's BRIDGE server and Synapse, an informatics platform dedicated to supporting the large-scale pooling of data, knowledge, and expertise across institutions to solve some of the most challenging problems in biomedical research.

ICON said it will tap Watson to help automate the process of identifying patients who meet the criteria for a clinical trial, and to analyze protocols to assess trial feasibility and identify optimal trial sites. The partnership aims to cut the cost and time of drug development, and enhance the care of patients by connecting them to relevant clinical trials.

ICON will apply Watson Clinical Trial Matching to its breast, lung, colon, and rectal cancer trials. The solution enables ICON to advise sponsors how many patients match their trial criteria, where they are located and how they will recruit them. IBM’s Watson Health Cloud will facilitate access to de-identified patient data, including 50 million patient records contained in the data set from Explorys, which IBM acquired in April.

At the same time, ICON said, it will enhance IBM Watson’s capabilities by providing expertise into clinical trial protocols and clinical operations.

Columbia University Medical Center's departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology will collaborate with IBM to test using IBM Watson to help oncologists in the Columbia Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center translate DNA insights into personalized treatment options for patients. Boston Children's Hospital was named Watson Health's foundational pediatrics partner, building on an existing relationship between the two entities. IBM will apply Watson to enhance and scale the OPENPediatrics initiative, a BCH initiative that aims to bring medical knowledge to pediatric caregivers worldwide.

The organizations named today will join CVS Health, Medtronic and Yale University, among others, as partners, IBM said.

In addition, IBM introduced its IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance, designed to help biomedical companies bring medical innovations to market more efficiently; and IBM Watson Care Manager, a population health solution that integrates capabilities from Watson Health, Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit, an Apple-designed software framework intended to let researchers conduct studies using an iPhone.

IBM also said Deborah DiSanzo is joining the company as general manager of IBM Watson Health. DiSanzo, the former CEO of Philips Healthcare, will lead more than 2,000 IBM staffers as the company works to scale its business globally, expand the capabilities of the IBM Watson Health Cloud, and broaden a tech ecosystem based on IBM's technology platform.

DiSanzo will also oversee a roster of clients, collaborators and partners that includes Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Medtronic, Epic, and CVS Health, IBM said. She will report to IBM Watson Group leader Michael Rhodin.








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