Novartis to focus on tech in Hyderabad

Drug maker using predictive analytics, robotics and machine learning for better patient care outcomes

By Author  |  Published: 3rd Mar 2018  12:15 am
The company says that there is a clear opportunity to expand team in Hyderabad in robotics and data analytics.

Hyderabad: Switzerland-based pharmaceuticals manufacturer Novartis Pharma is increasing its focus on digitalisation and data. The company has evolved a clear strategy to leverage technology in these two areas in the last 2-3 years. And Hyderabad operations are going to play a key role in the company’s global operations in data analytics and robotics.

Sharing how the company is using technology and what role Hyderabad and India will play in its global operations, Novartis Pharma chief information officer (CIO) Scott Sandschafer told Telangana Today, “We are using IT with an aim to contribute towards business both topline and bottomline, provide agility and be responsive. The technology is also helping us achieve quality enhancement, regulatory compliance and operational efficiencies to create more value for the company.”

Navartis is also working closely with the global pharma regulators and meet the data integrity expectations and needs. Regulators are becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of leveraging multiple data they retain. The company has put in place right systems to understand the next needs of the regulators both in terms of data integrity and improving operations.

With the huge clinical data that gets generated within the company, Novartis is trying to understand the nuances of data through machine learning to get more accurate perspectives and insights of medicines on their efficacy to treat patients.

Hyderabad focus

Sandschafer added, “Novartis has created a strong data analytics capability by establishing a centre of excellence (CoE) in Hyderabad that focuses on advanced analytics. The company has created large teams in data analytics and robotics in Hyderabad. There is a clear opportunity to expand team in Hyderabad in robotics around machine learning and artificial intelligence as we will expand teams in other geographies globally.”

“Hyderabad will be one of our foundational sites in all the areas of IT capabilities. We have five different building blocks- including service delivery, service operations, service excellence and centre of excellence. This will help leveraging the ecosystem of providers both in India and globally, integrated to the global operations. Robotics will be a major future opportunity in Hyderabad. We have hired new talent that will work on some of the emerging technologies.”

Novartis is leveraging technology to improve its supply chain and logistics, creating a global platform of information to get right insights from each country on transactional systems using predictive analytics. Analytics is also used on the manufacturing front to predict when the manufacturing lines can have downtime. Scheduling can be taken care in order to placing orders for new equipment accordingly.

Technology convergence

He explains, IT which was several years ago merely a support function has taken a centre-stage. There is focus on data and the explosion of data. Conversations are happening in the pharmaceuticals industry on the use of best technologies available to meet business needs.

“I had been to T-Hub in Hyderabad and interacted with some of the CEOs of startups in the healthtech space. The convergence of people having healthcare experience as well as technology is improving. While on one hand we see technology companies are trying to understand the needs of pharma and healthcare needs and develop solutions, on the other hand, healthcare professionals are also understanding what technologies they needs to improve efficiencies and outcomes,” he added.

Technology is helping Novartis in using data analytics to identify the right clinical sites to reduce the timeline to bring out the drug. With the help of insights that the company gets through analytics, it aims to achieve better patient care outcomes.

Headquartered in Basel, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio of medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. In 2017, the Group achieved net sales of $49.1 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately $9 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 1,22,000 full-time-equivalent associates. The company’s products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world.