Novartis opens digital healthcare innovation hub in Montreal
Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is set to open a new centre for digital innovation in Montreal.
The announcement was made at the virtual XEFFERVESCENCE Digital and AI in the Healthcare Industry event, attended by federal and provincial ministers and key members of the healthcare industry.
The Novartis Canada Biome Digital Innovation Hub will be located within Montreal’s artificial intelligence research institute, Mila, and will enable experts in healthcare, data science, technology and AI to come together.
With this new hub, Novartis aim to develop new, scalable digital solutions for patients and healthcare organisations. It follows the launch of similar Biome's in California's Silicon Valley, the UK, France and India.
Mila and Novartis formed a strategic partnership last year, which will enable startups and entrepreneurs to have access to the Novartis Canada team. One example of this is virtual care specialist company Insig Health, who are planning to launch a digital health accelerator that will provide tools for healthcare practitioners to advance their virtual care practice.
Several companies have already joined the Biome network including ConversationHEALTH, who create AI chatbots for healthcare companies, and Amblyotech, a digital therapeutics company.
Christian Macher, Country President for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada, presided over the virtual inauguration of the Biome. In a speech to attendees he said: “We are extremely fortunate to have access to a rich and vibrant technology community here in Montreal and throughout Canada. Our goal with the Biome is to become the leading health tech pharma company in Canada, working in collaboration with health tech pioneers who will become our partners in creating better healthcare solutions that can help enhance and accelerate the patient journey from diagnosis through treatment.
"We will be calling on start-ups to join us to help address some of the healthcare challenges Canadians face.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was among the virtual attendees. He said: “It was with projects like Novartis’ new Biome facility in mind that our government invested $125 million in the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
"Investments like these ensure Canada is a world-leading destination for talented researchers and companies in AI and healthcare innovations. This new facility is an exciting step in our collective efforts to create innovative solutions for patients and healthcare providers in Canada and around the world.”
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”