Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and IBM have expanded their existing global e-Health alliance with a focus on two key healthcare challenges - the discovery of new treatment options and improving chronic disease management.

Under the plans, a new, three-year research collaboration aims to design, build, and deploy a systematic process for medicine repurposing, potentially becoming a blueprint for use across the industry, to "deliver unprecedented scale in the discovery of new uses for existing drugs".

The process will combine human insight with unique machine-learning algorithms and real-world evidence accessed through cognitive computing technology IBM Watson, in the hope of revealing previously hidden correlations between a drug molecule and health conditions.

The groups also announced that respiratory and central nervous system diseases will be the first targets for their chronic disease management initiative, which will be the first project to integrate data from The Weather Company (an IBM Business) into the analysis.

The collaboration will combine cloud-connected drug delivery and app technology with more than six billion data points processed by Watson to provide actionable insights, the firms noted. "Using Watson's cognitive processing capabilities and newly developed algorithms these data may be used to calculate the prospective risk of health events, such as an asthma attack, with Teva delivering that information directly to caregivers and their patients via an app or other software interface".

"By combining the skills of our partners, such as Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, with Teva's pharmaceutical expertise, we can create novel solutions and deliver real value to people," said Professor Yitzhak Peterburg, Teva's chairman of the board of directors.

"Working together, Teva and IBM create an unprecedented opportunity to help doctors and patients worldwide achieve the promise of personalised healthcare," said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health.