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Author: Tan KW   |   Latest post: Thu, 25 Apr 2019, 2:33 PM


Microsoft brings AI to UK gene-therapy firm

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Oxford Biomedica Plc is working with software giant Microsoft Corp on developing better ways of repairing the genes of people with life-threatening diseases. 
Microsoft will use its Azure cloud and machine-learning software to develop ways to increase the productivity and purity of viruses that UK-based Oxford Biomedica makes to carry healthy genetic sequences into cells with broken and malformed genes, according to an emailed statement. The collaboration will last for two years and can be extended. 
Gene therapy is rapidly becoming a focus for drugmakers around the world, as companies like Swiss Roche Holding AG and Novartis AG have bought up biotechnology firms developing new genetic treatments for inherited diseases. While the new therapies have the potential to cure conditions that today are disabling or lethal, research and production are expensive. 
“Our goal is to enable faster, cheaper and more reliable manufacture of high quality next-generation cell and gene therapies to allow more patients to benefit,” Jason Slingsby, Oxford Biomedica’s chief business officer, said in the statement. 
Microsoft has been working on cloud and artificial-intelligence products to help doctors streamline data entry, triage patients and target cancer care. The Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. drugstore chain is using Azure to connect patients’ health-care data with clinicians and pharmacists, among other things.
 - Bloomberg 
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