The collaboration will combine Microsoft’s computational services, cloud and AI technologies with Novo Nordisk’s drug discovery, development and data science abilities and will take a platform approach to AI
Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has entered a new multi-year strategic collaboration with Microsoft to advance its drug discovery, research and development.
The collaboration will combine Microsoft’s computational services, cloud and AI technologies with Novo Nordisk’s drug discovery, development and data science abilities.
Under the partnership, Microsoft will provide its AI technology, and foundational science models and will work with Novo Nordisk’s data scientists and domain experts.
The companies will take a platform approach to AI, where a set of large AI models will be trained to perform multiple tasks.
The platform approach will enable new projects and use cases continuously throughout the multi-year collaboration, said the companies.
Novo Nordisk Digital Science & Innovation senior vice president Lars Fogh Iversen said: “We are very excited about this new partnership that allows us to work closely together with key experts from Microsoft as we look to expand our digital science and AI capabilities.
“Together, we are on a path to enable faster and scaled use of AI in drug discovery, ultimately leading to more breakthrough innovations and efficiency gain to better serve the needs of patients.”
The AI models developed as part of the collaboration will be applied to a range of use cases.
Novo Nordisk and Microsoft have already identified the first two use cases for the AI models that they’ll develop together.
The first use case will focus on automated summarisation and analysis of information from multiple sources, to obtain novel scientific insights.
The second use case will focus on developing models that predict the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular disease characterised by blockage of artery walls.
Furthermore, the AI will also be used to identify novel targets and establish biomarkers of the disease.
Microsoft Technology and Research division AI Architecture and Strategy corporate vice president Vijay Mital said: “The collaboration with Novo Nordisk is a great opportunity for us to collectively advance the state of the art of AI itself and apply it in a way that amplifies the creativity of human experts.
“To achieve this ambition, AI needs to learn from every type of information that subject matter experts find valuable and that requires the type of close interaction between multiple disciplines we see in this partnership.”
Earlier this month, Novo Nordisk signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based biopharmaceutical company Forma Therapeutics in a transaction valued at $1.1bn.