Posts from April 2019

Novo Nordisk uses Linguamatics NLP in groundbreaking project to mine real world data insights

Novo Nordisk has received one of the three Bio-IT World Innovative Practices Awards for their workflow to integrate NLP to generate actionable insights from real world data, during the Bio-IT World Conference and Exposition 2019 in Boston. Linguamatics, the leading Natural Language Processing (NLP) solution provider, is the Novo Nordisk NLP technology partner. Linguamatics and Novo Nordisk were among the 9 projects and 15 organizations selected as finalists for this prestigious award.

Bio-IT World’s Innovative Practices Award recognizes partnerships and projects pushing the life science industry forward, by highlighting examples of how technology innovations and strategic initiatives can be powerful forces for change. After winning Bio-IT World’s Best of Show Judges’ Prize in 2018 with iScite 2.0, the Linguamatics team is extremely proud of this new accomplishment.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given them experience and capabilities that also enable them to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: diabetes, haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity.


Spring is a lovely time to be in Cambridge – winter is finally moving on, the spring bulbs are out and the trees are in blossom. Time for Linguamatics Spring Text Mining Conference, which again this year was blessed with lovely sunshine. And of course, the opportunity to hear the latest about Linguamatics products and some new and fascinating use cases from our customers.

In March 2019, attendees from across pharma and healthcare came to our Spring Text Mining Conference, for hands-on workshops, a Healthcare Hackathon, networking and great presentations. The presentations covered innovations in using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to get more value from a range of unstructured text, covering electronic medical records, regulatory documents and patient social media verbatims.


Digital transformation often induces a disruption in our systems, in the way we use technology, human intelligence and processes to enhance business performance. Life science organizations are generally embracing the necessary digital revolution but digital transformation demands data transformation, which includes developing strategies to access information buried in text.

Data-driven decision making

During the upcoming Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, Jane Reed, Linguamatics Head of Life Science Strategy, will present a talk on "Natural Language Processing: enabling data-driven rather than document-driven decision making". Natural Language processing (NLP) allows organizations to focus on data-driven rather than document-driven decision making in a timely manner. The technology is already helping people in life sciences and healthcare, even non-programmers, to transform unstructured text into actionable structured data that can be rapidly visualized and analyzed, for decision support from bench to bedside.


Throughout my journey of becoming a physician, I have been privy to lots of varying medical opinions/practices. One thing I have noticed is a lack of taking the entire patient, that is all the information available about a patient, into consideration. Now, working for a company specializing in Natural Language Processing (NLP), I find myself wondering how could NLP have helped in these situations?

One stop shopping

I once came across a chain-smoking cardiologist, who would eat fast food everyday. He found it pretty humorous when I cracked a joke about his office proximity to the chain restaurant. I suggested that he put in a revolving door connected to the restaurant and start a campaign of “One Stop Shopping! Get your arteries filled and roto-rootered all within walking distance!” That is if you can walk about 100 feet with a lifestyle such as that. His response? Something about not being a nutritional expert: “my expertise is the heart!” At least, he did always tell his patients not to do what he did.


Recently, I found myself in a discussion with some colleagues around whether artificial intelligence (AI) could increase commercial engagement and sales productivity; specifically, the Linguamatics flavour of AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP). My first reaction was no – our customers tend to use NLP to pull out critical information for safety assessment from internal reports, genotype-phenotype associations from literature, inclusion/exclusion criteria from clinical trial records; and many more examples that impact drug R&D.

But as the discussion progressed, I realized that as our customers drill more and more into the power of NLP to unlock value from real world data, the answer is actually yes. NLP enables data-driven, rather than document-driven decision support, by extracting key concepts and context from unstructured documents, which can then be rapidly reviewed and analysed. So, since much real world data is unstructured text, NLP can bring real productivity gains.

Challenges for pharma medical field teams

Let me give you some background, and then some examples.

Over recent years, pharma sales reps and medical science liaison staff (MSLs) have faced increasing challenges around access to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), physicians and prescribers, due to a more restrictive regulatory environment, new healthcare business models and evolving economic conditions. The boundaries for how pharma sales reps can interact with physicians are more limited, for example the “lunch and learn” meetings that used to be a key tool have been significantly curtailed. In parallel, the pressures on physicians to see more patients also reduces the time they have to learn about new drugs or improved therapies.