Novartis AG launched Novartis Biome, a digital innovation lab and series of open innovation initiatives, to help the pharma identify and develop digital health technology.
Robin Roberts, Head of Innovation and Strategy of the Novartis Biome and one of its co-founders, stated:
“The idea is to give the health tech ecosystem a boost and clear ‘on-ramp’ to work with Novartis. It’s clear to anyone who works in digital health that the vast majority of disruptive technologies are not going to come from big pharma companies. But we can engage and work with startups and innovators, and together make something bold, sustainable and scalable.”
The Novartis Biome connects with external innovators in multiple ways, including issuing challenges through an initiative called the HealthX World Series, proactively scouting for technology, and tapping a large network for referrals. Program teams work with Novartis mentors who have identified a potential application for their technology at the company. Together, they may design and execute a validation study to test the concept. Novartis has the option to invest in the technology after evaluating the results.
The Novartis Biome offers the state-of-the-art workspace, mentorship and resources that startups have come to expect at incubators. But it also brings an important twist for digital health innovators: They have the opportunity to use vast Novartis datasets in validation studies that they can run in real clinical settings to further shape and design their proof-of-concept study. A 12-month curriculum tailored to the innovator’s growth needs is also offered to participating companies to help advance their ideas and solutions.
The Novartis Biome promises to accelerate the digital evolution of Novartis and to advance health tech overall.