Artificial Intelligence, Devices & Diagnostics, BioPharma

Novartis turns to algorithms developer Anumana to apply AI to cardio conditions

Novartis is partnering with algorithms startup Anumana to develop a new artificial intelligence-based solution for cardiovascular diseases. The goal is to find ways to detect heart conditions years before symptoms develop in order to enable earlier intervention.

heart, doctor, cardiac


Novartis’s main offerings for cardiovascular disease are drugs prescribed as a response to symptoms. However, heart problems can develop years before signs appear and the pharmaceutical giant wants to find new approaches to these disorders. A new partnership aims to develop artificial intelligence-based software that detects hidden cardiovascular conditions.

The collaboration is with Anumana, which develops algorithms that are applied to electrocardiograms (ECG). The agreement calls for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Anumana to develop algorithms that could be applied to patients with previously undetected life-threatening heart disease. These algorithms are intended to help identify problems so physicians can intervene sooner.

“Cardiovascular disease is a widespread and multifactorial disease and, in order to mitigate its impact, we must look beyond therapeutic innovation and reimagine how we approach cardiovascular care,” Victor Bulto, president of Novartis Innovative Medicines U.S., said in a prepared statement. “Novartis is proud to collaborate with Anumana on innovative and data-driven solutions to better predict the risk of life-threatening heart disease, further driving forward our commitment to improving patient experiences and population health outcomes in this patient population.”

No financial terms of the multi-year collaboration were disclosed.

Anumana was formed by the Mayo Clinic and Nference, a company that uses unstructured electronic medical records data from medical centers to develop new diagnostics and treatments. The Anumana joint venture builds on an existing partnership between the Mayo Clinic and Nference. They launched the startup last year and backed it with a $25.7 million Series A investment. Anumana says it has since closed a $60 million Series B round of funding.

The Novartis collaboration could make the ECG, a widely used and inexpensive test, a wealth of information for cardiovascular analysis. Anumana said the alliance builds on its own efforts to develop AI-enabled software that detects signals from ECGs that humans cannot interpret. The new partnership is focused on developing software that can detect previously undiagnosed left ventricular dysfunction, which is also referred to as a weak heart pump. This condition can lead to heart failure.

In addition, Anumana said that the AI will screen for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The research includes development of a digital point-of-care solution that can guide the use of drugs. The goal is to reduce the risks of hospitalizations and cardiovascular death. Under the Novartis partnership, Anumana will work with experts at the Mayo Clinic.

“This collaboration has the potential to transform the use of a ubiquitous inexpensive test, the ECG, with the aim of democratizing disease detection and helping medical care teams to proactively manage heart disease ahead of time and prevent some clinical events from ever happening,” Dr. Paul Friedman, chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Mayo Clinic and chair of Anumana’s Mayo Clinic board of advisors, said in a prepared statement.