Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and US-based technology company IBM are expanding their existing global e-Health alliance to enable drug development and chronic disease management with the latter’s Watson Health Cloud.

The partnership features new research collaboration for three years to develop cognitive technologies that can enable a systematic approach to the emerging field of drug repurposing.

Teva and IBM also announced that their initial target for chronic disease management initiative will be respiratory and central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

This will be the first project to integrate data from IBM’s Weather Company business into the analysis.

"By teaming up with Teva, our belief is we will gain insights that can lead pharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines that benefit patients worldwide."

The latest work by these companies in chronic disease management emerges from Teva’s existing alliance with IBM as a foundational life sciences partner for the IBM Watson Health Cloud.

IBM Watson Health general manager Deborah DiSanzo said: “IBM and Teva’s announcements today are notable for two reasons. 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.

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“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.”

With this collaboration, Teva and IBM aim to design, build, and deploy a systematic process for drug repurposing.

The process will combine human insight with new machine-learning algorithms accessed through the IBM Watson Health Cloud, which will be applied to uncover previously hidden correlations between a drug molecule and health conditions.

IBM research healthcare and life director Ajay Royyuru said: “80% of all health data is invisible to current technology systems because it’s unstructured.

“Using cognitive technologies to mine this data could reveal novel therapies for diseases that desperately need tackling.

"By teaming up with Teva, our belief is we will gain insights that can lead pharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines that benefit patients worldwide.”