by Thor Olavsrud

IBM Watson Health gets new home and its first GM

Sep 10, 2015
Big DataHealthcare IndustryIBM

IBM has opened IBM Watson Health global headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., and announced a slew of new partnerships along with two new Watson solutions. The unit also gained its first general manager.

IBM today opened its new IBM Watson Health global headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. It also announced new major partnerships with healthcare organizations like Boston Children’s Hospital. IBM also announced the expansion of its Watson solution portfolio with IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance and IBM Watson Care Manager.

At the event, Big Blue named Deborah DiSanzo, formerly CEO of Philips Healthcare, as the IBM Watson Health business unit’s first general manager. DiSanzo will be based in the new Cambridge headquarters and will report to Michael Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson Group.

watson health pic IBM Watson

Deborah DiSanzo is the first general manager of IBM Watson Health.

“I’m thrilled to join IBM and serve as general manager of IBM Watson Health,” DiSanzo said in a statement today. “IBM Watson Health has been on fast growth trajectory and has a strong foundation that well positions us to continue to seize opportunities across the continuum of life sciences and healthcare. I’m ready to scale IBM Watson Health to the next level and bring the benefits of the IBM Watson Health Cloud to organizations worldwide.”

Watson and biomedicine

IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance is aimed at biomedical companies that need help with fast-track deployment of GxP compliant infrastructure and applications, while meeting requirements for hosting, accessing and sharing regulated data. IBM Watson Care Manager is a population health solution that allows medical professionals design personalized patient engagement programs. It integrates capabilities from Watson Health, Apple ResearchKit and Apple HealthKit.

[ Related: IBM looks to let Watson Health ‘see’ ]

In addition to Boston Children’s Hospital, the new partnerships include Columbia University, clinical research organization ICON plc, Sage Bionetworks and Teva Pharmaceuticals. They join existing partners that include CVS Health, Medtronic and Yale University leverage Watson’s capabilities for drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, chronic disease management, pediatrics and digital health.

IBM has named Boston Children’s Hospital Watson’s foundational pediatrics partner. IBM will integrate Watson’s iterative question and answer capability with BHC’s OPENPediatrics initiative, which aims to bring medical knowledge to pediatric caregivers worldwide. The two partners will jointly develop solutions for commercialization, with an initial focus on applications in personalized medicine, heart health and critical care.

Columbia University Medical Center’s departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology will work with IBM to test IBM Watson for translating DNA insights into personalized treatment options for patients.

[ Related: IBM’s insatiable appetite for healthcare data ]

ICON is applying Watson to clinical trial matching. Sage and Teva plan to make Watson Health Cloud their organizations’ preferred development platform.

IBM Watson Health built to scale

“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 consumer wellness,” Rhodin said in a statement today. “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 most pressing health needs.”

The new global headquarters is at 75 Binney Street in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and will serve more than 700 IBM employees. IBM plans to open an interactive Watson Health Experience Center in the headquarters, providing clients with immersive learning about Watson. The headquarters will also host a Health Research Lab.