Sanofi aligns itself with Google to streamline drug development
Technology is bleeding into healthcare, and big pharma is riding the wave. Sanofi $SNY appointed its first chief digital officer this February, following the footsteps of its peers. By May, the French drugmaker and some of its big pharma compatriots joined forces with Google parent Alphabet’s Verily unit to augment clinical trial research. On Tuesday, the Parisian company tied up with Google to access its cloud computing and artificial intelligence tech to spur the development of new therapies.
Burdened with formidable challenges, such as inconsistent access and deployment of care in addition to the unsustainable cost of care, the US healthcare system has laid the groundwork for the use of digital tools to refresh the practice of medicine. In recent years, in addition to the penetration of tech giants into the realm of healthcare (cue Google, Apple), major drugmakers have also embraced the significance of these technologies, hiring chief digital/technology officers to usher in the era of telemedicine, wearables, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Under the Sanofi/Google alliance, deep analytics will be used by Sanofi to better understand key diseases and engineer personalized approaches to treatment. Google’s technology will be applied to Sanofi’s large real-world database to help navigate what treatments work for which category of patients. Artificial intelligence, which will harness real-time geographic, logistic and manufacturing constraints, can be employed to forecast sales, inform marketing and improve the supply chain.
“Combining Sanofi’s biologic innovations and scientific data with Google’s…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, Sanofi’s chief medical and digital officer, in a statement.
Last month, along with fellow drugmakers Novartis, Pfizer and Otsuka, Sanofi tied up with Verily to make it easier to reach patients and enroll them in clinical trials, and organize the raft of data emanating from the global trial system.
These alliances are being forged at a time when the FDA has also been supportive of championing the use of real-world evidence to enhance the way clinical trial data is digested, with a view to expedite the development of promising therapies or abort the path of the weakest experimental drugs.