Novartis in Society Integrated Report 2022

Scale data science and technology

We are investing in data science and technology to support innovation, increase efficiency, better respond to the needs of patients and healthcare professionals, and ultimately improve the way we develop and deliver our medicines.

To support our strategy, we use data science and technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) across our company. Internally, we are investing to build a strong data, digital and IT foundation for our own systems and processes – spanning everything from R&D and operations to product management and commercial activities. We are also using data science and technology to better meet the needs of customers and patients. As part of our overall strategy, we focus on priority projects that can be scaled globally and have the highest impact.

Supporting innovation

Our business produces enormous amounts of data, not only from research and development but also from production, distribution and marketing. We are taking advantage of this resource to improve productivity and spur innovation.

Our Generative Chemistry project, for example, helps scientists at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) speed up the discovery of new high-value medicines. The process for researching and developing new medicines is complex, requiring the evaluation of hundreds of thousands of candidate compounds before a project reaches the clinical trial stage. We use machine learning algorithms to identify new patterns and suggest molecules to synthesize in the lab.

More than 250 specialist data scientists are embedded within NIBR project teams to help optimize and accelerate key aspects of our research

This is just one example of how data science has become a pillar of our drug discovery efforts. More than 250 specialist data scientists are embedded within NIBR project teams to help optimize and accelerate key aspects of our research – from target identification and dose modeling to refining predictive biomarkers. In pre-clinical and early clinical work, for instance, NIBR data scientists created a neural network model to assess brain penetration potential for several neurological drug candidates. Using biodistribution data, they also developed a method to accurately predict how doses of an investigational radioligand therapy would be absorbed by key radiosensitive organs.

In our drug development operations, our Nerve Live program collects data from dozens of domains to generate insights, drive efficiency and reduce risk - for example to keep clinical trials running smoothly or helping with oversight of drug safety operations for our portfolio. The program has been successfully scaled after launching five years ago, with thousands of employees now using Nerve Live’s decision-support tools to help them in their daily work.

Andromeda, which was launched in 2020 and is now used by more than 10 000 employees, is a solution that covers the entire portfolio of Novartis, spanning research, development and our commercial operations. It uses advanced analytics and simulations to accelerate portfolio decision-making, helping to drive efficiency and contributing to the value of our pipeline.

Our data42 platform gives our data scientists and researchers access to 2 million patient years of data from thousands of clinical trials over more than two decades. Backed by robust privacy controls for patient data, it enables researchers to analyze millions of health records, genomic data, adverse events and other information to generate hypotheses and test them through statistical modeling. Today, this data analytics platform is being used by over 1 100 Novartis data scientists and researchers.

Building a data and digital backbone

We are making progress in modernizing our IT systems and connecting the large volumes of data created throughout our business.

In 2020, we launched a common platform for data and analytics aimed at maximizing the value of our data. Today, this platform is used at scale across the company to generate reliable data in a standard format and enable insights using AI and machine learning. Ultimately, this will speed up decision-making, increase efficiency and provide new insights.

Through our Lean Digital Core (LDC) program, we are replacing our legacy enterprise resource planning systems with a single system across our organization. This will simplify how we work and allow for easier and more cost-effective upgrades. We anticipate cost savings of approximately USD 500 million as a result. To support these changes, we are standardizing around 700 internal end-to-end processes used by our finance, procurement, manufacturing and commercial teams. We aim for initial deployment of LDC in two countries by the end of 2023 and expect the overall program to be completed by 2028.

Alongside LDC, we are investing in new technology for human capital management (HCM), built around Workday, a third-party software platform. This new approach will replace more than 15 global and local systems currently in use with just four global systems. With this change, we will be able to improve how we recruit, manage and develop our employees, as well as simp­­lify and speed up our HR processes. In addition, both employees and managers will have access to new tools for training and career development. The project will be implemented in waves over the next two years, with the first wave scheduled for the second half of 2023.

Engaging patients and healthcare professionals

We are using data science and technologies to find new ways to support patients and engage healthcare professionals.

For example, a project called Leap uses technology and real-time data insights to make it easier and more efficient for patients in the US to begin and remain on therapy as prescribed. We launched new web-enabled capabilities and a Novartis Patient Support Center (PSC) to help patients more easily access our medicines through financial and adherence support. In 2022, Leap was fully integrated into our US patient support activities for Entresto. We also began a scaled rollout to Cosentyx patients. We plan to cover the full Novartis product portfolio in the US by the end of 2024.

Leap uses technology and real-time data insights to make it easier and more efficient for patients to begin and remain on therapy as prescribed

At the same time, our Next Generation Engagement program uses a mix of data analysis, behavioral insights and communications technology to achieve the most effective mix of face-to-face and digital communications for healthcare professionals in key markets. For example, we personalized 36% of touchpoints with healthcare professionals for Cosentyx in the US. This personalized approach has led to increased customer engagement and supported sales growth.

Using AI to tackle heart disease

In 2022, the Novartis Foundation launched the AI4HealthyCities Health Equity Network alongside Microsoft AI for Health and other partners. The aim is to use artificial intelligence to analyze health data and provide city authorities with insights into the main social determinants of heart disease so they can direct more resources to high-impact interventions. New York, US, and Lisbon, Portugal, are the first cities to take part in the program, with further major cities planned for 2023.

Insights from the program could increase understanding about heart disease and how heart health could be improved by tackling the underlying social, economic or environmental causes. These include everything from healthy diet and physical exercise to education, exposure to pollution and access to decent housing.

The Novartis Foundation seeks to improve the health of low-income populations around the world and reduce health inequity by using data and population health management.

For more information, see

2 cities

New York and Lisbon

are the first cities to take part in the Novartis Foundation’s AI4HealthyCities program, with more planned for 2023.

Diana Wong Ramos, a patient advocate in Portugal (Photo)
Diana Wong Ramos, a stroke survivor and patient advocate, holds an information session for patients at a hospital in Lisbon, Portugal.

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