Hunting for Tech Ties, a Swiss Drugmaker Goes to Silicon Valley - (Bloomberg via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Novartis is looking to strengthen its ties with technology startups under a new project called the Novartis Biome, as companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon advance rapidly into the healthcare field, Bloomberg reported.

  • Chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson, former Amazon executive who joined Novartis in January, said the drugmaker is setting up innovation labs in cities around the world, starting with San Francisco.

  • Novartis is also collaborating with a developer of cell- and gene-therapy technology, called Mekonos, and digital health firm Medable.

  • "Technology, data and science are all starting to come together," Bodson said, adding that "you see it with the moves from Google, Microsoft and Amazon, and also a lot of startups and entrepreneurs. But healthcare is not an easy space to crack."

  • Additionally, Novartis Biome has formed a partnership with Hitlab, a digital health organisation, and is working with Veta Health and ConversationHealth on projects in heart failure and cancer, respectively, with Bodson noting that the project should make it easier for technology players to work with Novartis and get into the complex healthcare realm.

  • Meanwhile, Novartis recently contributed to $31 million in funds for StartUp Health, a company that invests in "moonshot" projects, and signed a partnership agreement with Tencent. Bodson said Novartis is keen to pursue more deals in the digital realm as it expands in China.

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