IBM halt sales of Watson AI tool for drug discovery amid tepid growth: STAT report

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STAT reported yesterday that IBM is halting the sales of their “Watson for Drug Discovery” machine learning/ AI tool, according to sources within the company. According to STAT report, IBM is giving up its efforts to develop and flog its Drug Discovery technology due to “sluggish sales,”. But no one seems to have told IBM’s website programming team, because the pages of the product information are still up on the IBM website. They’re worth taking a look as to how the product has been over-promised by IBM.

Apparently, IBM Watson Health uses AI software to help companies reveal the connection and relationship among genes, drugs, diseases, and other entities by analyzing multiple sets of life sciences knowledge. But according to the IEEE Spectrum report, IBM’s entire foray into health care has been marked by the familiar combination of overpromising and under-delivery.

However, the service isn’t completely shutting down. IBM spokesperson Ed Barbini told to The Register: “We are not discontinuing our Watson for Drug Discovery offering, and we remain committed to its continued success for our clients currently using the technology. 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.

In other words, it appears the product won’t be sold to any new customers, however, organizations that want to continue using the system will still be supported.

“The offering is staying on the market, and we’ll work with clients who want to team with IBM in this area. But our future efforts will be more focused on clinical trials – it’s a much bigger market and better use of our technology and tools.”, according to IBM

The Drug Discovery service is made up of lots of different products or “modules,” such as a search engine that allows chemists to crawl scientific abstracts to find information on a specific gene or chemical compound. There’s also a knowledge network that describes relationships between drugs and diseases.

IBM’s Health division has been crumbling for a while. IBM Watson Health’s Oncology AI software dished out incorrect and unsafe recommendations during beta testing. And to add to their worry, in October last year Deborah DiSanzo, IBM’s head of Watson Health, stepped down from her position too.

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Fatema Patrawala
Being a Senior Content Marketing Editor at Packt Publishing, I handle vast array of content in the tech space ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development. With prior experience and understanding of Marketing I aspire to grow leaps and bounds in the Content & Digital Marketing field. On the personal front I am an ambivert and love to read inspiring articles and books on life and in general.

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