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Sanofi taps Google’s expertise for digital transformation

Pharma giant embraces AI with new partnership


Sanofi is partnering with Alphabet’s Google on a project that will use artificial intelligence and deep analytics to find improved ways to deliver healthcare.

The two partners say they will set up a virtual ‘Innovation Lab’ that will attempt to change the way Sanofi develops new treatments, for example by gaining a better understanding of patients and diseases, as well as to improve Sanofi’s processes and the way it interacts with patients.

The partnership ties in with a growing trend among drugmakers to move beyond simply manufacturing and marketing medicines to a new business model that involves harnessing digital technologies to get closer to patients, make treatments more effective, and improve the efficiency of medicines development.

A lot of the talk about pharma’s digital transformation is just that – talk – but the new alliance suggests Sanofi is embracing the change from the ground up.

Google’s technologies will be introduced across a number of its corporate functions as part of a drive towards modernising its IT infrastructure and making its operations more efficient. AI will also be used to forecast sales trends and to guide supply chain activities, taking into account “geographic, logistic and manufacturing constraints.”

When it comes to drug development, Google will help sift through data to find patient and disease insights that Sanofi reckons will allow it to develop more personalised approaches to treatment, along with accompanying tools to help patients get the most from therapy.

The companies say they will harness Sanofi’s large real-world database “to better understand what treatments work for patients” and attempt to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.

Ameet Nathwani

Ameet Nathwani

"Combining Sanofi’s biologic innovations and scientific data with Google’s industry-leading capabilities, from cloud computing to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, we aspire to give people more control over their health and accelerate the discovery of new therapies," said Ameet Nathwani, who serves as Sanofi's chief digital officer as well as its chief medical officer.

A recent GlobalData report suggests that more than 100 companies are working on applying AI to healthcare, with big tech names such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM Watson paving the way.

As well as driving personalised treatment, the companies are also aiming to counteract the unsustainability of skyrocketing drug prices, it says.

Article by
Phil Taylor

18th June 2019

From: Healthcare



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