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IBM Watson Health Announces New Partnerships, New Cloud Services and Global HQ in Cambridge, MA

Veteran Health/Tech Leader Deborah DiSanzo Joins IBM Watson Health as General Manager
Introduces IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance and IBM Watson Care Manager
Boston Children’s Hospital, Columbia University, ICON plc, Sage Bionetworks & Teva Pharmaceuticals Join the Roster of Industry Leaders Leveraging the Power of Watson
IBM Watson Health Global Headquarters Planned for Cambridge’s Kendall Square

CAMBRIDGE, MA - 10 Sep 2015: Opening its new IBM Watson Health global headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Deborah DiSanzo is joining the company as the business unit’s General Manager, introduced a pair of new cloud services, and revealed major new partnerships — all reflecting IBM’s commitment to helping advance the quality of health globally.


DiSanzo brings to IBM, its partners and its clients more than 30 years’ experience working at the intersection of healthcare and technology, most recently as CEO for Philips Healthcare. She will lead more than 2,000 IBMers, with a mandate to scale the business globally, expand the capabilities of the IBM Watson Health Cloud, and broaden a growing ecosystem that is building on IBM’s technology platform. Further, she will oversee a fast growing roster of clients, collaborators and partners that includes marquis relationships with Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Medtronic, Epic, and CVS Health, among others. She will report to IBM Watson Group leader Michael Rhodin.

IBM also expanded its solutions portfolio with the introduction of IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance and IBM Watson Care Manager:

  • The IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance will help biomedical companies bring medical innovations to market more efficiently. This first-in-class solution will help the companies fast-track the deployment of a GxP compliant infrastructure and applications while adhering to stringent requirements for hosting, accessing and sharing regulated data.
  • IBM Watson Care Manager is a population health solution that uniquely integrates capabilities from Watson Health, Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit, a software framework designed by Apple to make it easy for researchers to conduct studies using an iPhone. It allows medical professionals’ to factor a broad range of determinants into a personalized patient engagement program, with the intent to vastly improve individual health outcomes.

In addition, IBM announced that Boston Children’s Hospital, Columbia University, ICON plc, Sage Bionetworks and Teva Pharmaceuticals will join the roster of industry leaders that are leveraging Watson’s capabilities to transform key aspects of the healthcare ecosystem that include drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, chronic disease management, pediatrics, and digital health. They join CVS Health, Medtronic and Yale University, among others. Teva and Sage both announced the Watson Health Cloud is their organizations’ preferred development platform.

"Watson Health is driving a new era of technology-driven health, enabling entrepreneurs and industry leaders to address diverse needs, spanning the earliest stages of research all the way through to clinical care and population health through to consumer wellness,” said Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group. “The variety of new partners and use cases underscores the flexibility and scalability of the IBM Watson Health Cloud to help leaders rapidly advance the state of the art in health and wellness. Further, IBM Watson Health is building for scale, with partners, offerings and now a worldwide headquarters designed to help global organizations meet the world’s pressing health needs.”

The opening ceremony also featured demonstrations by health ecosystem partners Best Doctors, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics, Socrates and Welltok, which showed how Watson is being deployed in solutions such as enabling cost-effective second opinion services, helping optimize physician practice patterns, and supporting consumers’ ability to make informed, cost effective medical choices.

IBM Watson Health Attracts Start-Ups and Established Leaders

IBM Watson Health has achieved significant market momentum since it was introduced five months ago. Hundreds of partners, ecosystem members and customers are working with IBM to address unmet needs across the continuum of life sciences and healthcare. New collaborations announced today include:

Boston Childrens Hospital has been named Watson Health’s foundational pediatrics partner, building on an existing relationship between the two entities. IBM will integrate Watson’s deep and iterative question and answer capability to enhance and scale the OPENPediatrics initiative, a ground-breaking BCH initiative which aims to bring life-saving medical knowledge to pediatric caregivers worldwide.

Columbia University Medical Centers departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology will collaborate with IBM to test using IBM Watson to help oncologists in the Columbia Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center translate DNA insights into personalized treatment options for patients. Columbia is the 16th cancer center to test the use Watson Genomic Analytics to bring precision medicine to patients worldwide. As Columbia and other institutions evaluate Watson’s ability to help clinicians in identifying actionable mutations in cancer, Watson’s rationale and insights will continually improve, providing the latest combined wisdom of the world’s leading cancer institutes in a scalable, cloud-based solution.

ICON plc is the first global clinical research organization (CRO) to apply Watson to clinical trial matching, tapping into data in the IBM Watson Health Cloud to help its biomedical customers accelerate medical research and the development of new treatment options for patients. It is estimated that 80 percent of clinical trials fail or are delayed due to inadequate patient enrollment and only 2 percent of eligible patients become trial subjects. ICON will leverage Watson to automate the cumbersome process of identifying patients who meet the criteria for a clinical trial. Watson will also analyze trial protocols against a massive volume of patient data in the Watson Health Cloud to assess trial feasibility and identify optimal trial sites.

Sage Bionetworks Open Biomedical Research Platform will be powered by the IBM Watson Health Cloud, with the intent to make the IBM Watson Health Cloud the platform of choice for Sage to aggregate, store, curate, and analyze data collected via apps using ResearchKit. Sage currently has active ResearchKit projects in breast cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. Further, Sage and IBM will collaborate to integrate the IBM Watson Health Cloud with Sage’s BRIDGE server and Synapse, an informatics platform dedicated to supporting the large-scale pooling of data, knowledge, and expertise across institutions to solve some of the most challenging problems in biomedical research. Sage endeavors to engage patients in the scientific discovery process and facilitate global collaboration among researchers working toward a shared goal of advancing and accelerating medical research.

“Successful biomedical research requires active participation and data sharing across a wide variety of stakeholders,” said Stephen H. Friend, MD, PhD, president, co-founder and director, Sage Bionetworks. “The IBM Watson Health Cloud can help us break down barriers that hamper progress in research and accelerate discovery through open collaboration by providing broadly accessible storage with large capacity.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals announced that IBM Watson Health Cloud will serve as Teva’s global technology platform of choice to build solutions designed to help millions of individuals worldwide with complex and chronic conditions such as asthma, pain, and neurodegenerative diseases. Teva expects to introduce its first e-health solution in 2016.

IBM Watson Health Global Headquarters Established in Cambridge Life Science Hub

Unveiled today, Watson Health’s global headquarters are located at 75 Binney Street in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and will serve as a home base for more than 700 IBM employees.

For entrepreneurs and start-ups, Watson Health's Cambridge headquarters will provide technology, tools and talent to create and launch new products and businesses based on Watson's cloud-delivered cognitive intelligence. IBM intends to open an interactive Watson Health Experience Center in Cambridge, which will serve as a place for IBM clients to undertake immersive leaning about Watson and how it can help transform their businesses. In addition, IBM Research will establish a dedicated Health Research lab at the headquarters, deepening IBMs decades-long commitment to investigation that informs new IBM offerings.

Cambridge is widely considered the epicenter of the Life Sciences industry, and Massachusetts boasts more than 600 life sciences companies and research organizations employing roughly 60,000 people with a combined payroll topping $7 billion annually, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. In recent years, Massachusetts has drawn more than 20 percent of all venture capital outlays for biotechnology companies nationally and the majority of grants from the National Institutes of Health.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform. The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created daily. The Watson Health Cloud allows this information to be de-identified, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.

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Contact(s) information

Lorie Fiber
IBM Media Relations
1 (646) 318-0575

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IBM announced that Watson Health global headquarters is located at 75 Binney Street in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More than 700 IBM employees will work at the new facility, just a portion of the 2,000 IBMers worldwide working with Watson Health. In concert with the opening, IBM announced Deborah DiSanzo has been appointed General Manager and Head of IBM Watson Health. Ms. DiSanzo is a seasoned executive, most recently serving as CEO of Philips Healthcare. She will be based at the new Watson Health headquarters. (Credit: IBM)

On Thursday, September 10, 2015, new IBM Watson Health General Manager Deborah DiSanzo opens the IBM Watson Health global headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., a life sciences hub. More than 700 IBM employees will be located at the headquarters in Cambridge's Kendall Square, which will host a space for entrepreneurs and start-ups to tap into technology, tools and talent to build new products and businesses on Watson's cloud-delivered cognitive computing platform, as well as an IBM Watson Health Research Lab. Contact: Kristi Eells/IBM, 802-345-8313, (Feature Photo Service for IBM)

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