Before taking over the helm of Novartis AG, Vasant Narasimhan pointed to the harnessing of digital technology as a key method of saving a significant percentage of clinical trial costs. Narasimhan suggested the company could partner with a company or flex its M&A muscle to meet that goal.
Last year when announcing his plans, Narasimhan said he viewed the future of Novartis as both a medicines and data science company. Novartis pushed forward with this through a partnership with Medidata Solutions to support clinical trials and commercialization programs. On Tuesday, Novartis teamed up with Shyft Analytics, a company acquired by Medidata in June, to harness that company’s Intelligent Platform for Life Sciences. Novartis intends to use the platform to support the commercialization of key therapies in Europe. In its announcement Tuesday morning, Novartis said it will use Shyft’s Strata Data Platform to “aggregate and manage” third-party and proprietary commercial data sources, as well as its Lumen Insights Platform to “deliver intuitively-designed analytics” that will be used to “drive the next-best-actions for commercial teams.”
When Narasimhan took over at Novartis, he wanted to digitally transform the company through the use of artificial intelligence and real-world analytics. Prior to his taking over for former CEO Joe Jimenez, Narasimhan said his digital revolution plan for the company would “supplement Novartis’s strong but scattered data science capability.”
Like its parent company, Shyft has been making multiple deals to help pharma companies transform their digital innovation programs. Last week Shyft and Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals inked a deal to support the expected commercial launch of eravacycline, its lead investigational antibiotic candidate developed to address multidrug-resistant bacteria that is under regulatory review. For its part, Shyft will use its scalable cloud platform to “empower Tetraphase” with analytics that “provide comprehensive market intelligence and commercial insights to meet commercialization milestones.”
By harnessing the Shyft platforms, Novartis said the solutions will “simplify and accelerate the aggregation, assimilation, and analysis of scores of disparate data sets that inform commercial sales and medical education programs.” Novartis and Shyft already have a collaborative relationship. The companies have teamed together to, which was one of the key focus for Narisimhan’s digital revolution.
Bertrand Bodson, Novartis’ chief digital officer, said it is essential for pharmaceutical companies to have “efficient, relevant and impactful” when dealing with healthcare professionals. The partnership between the Novartis and Shyft will allow clinical development and commercial teams to “seamlessly” share data and insights.
“We are committed to reimagining medicine with data and digital, and this technology helps us do that by supporting our Pharma sales reps with intelligence-driven ‘next-best-actions’ so they can make the 100,000 interactions they have with HCPs every day as personalized and meaningful as possible,” Bodson said in a statement.
Zack King, president of Shyft, touted Novartis’ digital revolution because the company approaches innovation with the care and agility typically found in smaller organizations.
Novartis isn’t the only biotech embracing new technologies as it adapts its drug design and clinical trials to changes in technology. Multiple companies are attempting to harness a wide range of digital innovations in order to transform the company. Two years ago Biogen forged a partnership with Medidata for its Rave platform. Medidata also has had agreements with other large pharma companies, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim.
A Product Manager with expertise in pharma marketing and sales operations