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September 13, 2022

Novo Nordisk partners with Microsoft for AI-driven drug discovery

AI will be leveraged for detecting new targets and validating disease biomarkers under the partnership.

Novo Nordisk has signed a new strategic partnership with Microsoft to expedite the discovery and development of drugs leveraging big data and artificial intelligence (AI).

Under the deal, Microsoft ‘s computational services, Cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) will be merged with the drug discovery, development and data science expertise of Novo Nordisk .

Microsoft is offering AI technology, foundational science models and capabilities through collaboration. 

To expedite Novo Nordisk ‘s research and development (R&D), Microsoft is also collaborating with the former’s data researchers and domain specialists from initial research and development regions.

The AI models developed out of the partnership will be utilised for a variety of use cases, of which the initial two are underway.

A use case focuses on automated summarisation and information assessment from sources such as patents, scientific reports, literature and discussion forums for obtaining new scientific insights.

The second use case is intended to develop models that forecast an individual’s atherosclerosis development risk. 

Additionally, the AI will be leveraged for detecting new targets and validating disease biomarkers.

Novo Nordisk and Microsoft will adopt a platform strategy to AI under the deal to train several models for various tasks. 

This approach will permit the commencement of new projects and use cases continuously over the course of the multi-year partnership between the firms.

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 latest development comes after Novo Nordisk entered a definitive agreement to acquire Forma Therapeutics for $1.1bn.

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