IBM stops development, sales of Watson for Drug Discovery

IBM has discontinued the development and sales of its Watson for Drug Discovery product due to poor financial performance, according to STAT.

This usage of IBM's Watson artificial intelligence software was introduced in 2014, with the aim of assisting pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs. Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer were among the firms that established partnerships with the research tool.

Though IBM will no longer market or advance Watson for Drug Discovery, it will continue to serve pharmaceutical companies already using the software, IBM spokesperson Edward Barbini said in an emailed statement to STAT.

"We are focusing our resources within Watson Health to double down on the adjacent field of clinical development where we see an even greater market need for our data and AI capabilities," Mr. Barbini wrote.

Reports of the demise of Watson for Drug Discovery come amid continued criticisms of the Watson for Oncology technology. Despite these setbacks, on April 16, IBM reported a $5 billion increase in revenue from its Cloud and Cognitive Software sector in the first quarter of 2019, due in part to growth in its health offerings, including the AI-powered Watson Health resource.

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