GSK continues strides into the technology sector as CEO Emma Walmsley set to join Microsoft board


Microsoft has nominated GSK CEO Emma Walmsley as new Microsoft Board member, with the appointment set to be confirmed at the annual shareholders meeting on December 4th.

Walmsley is currently the co-chair of the Consumer, Retail and Life Science Council, an advisory group for the UK government, as well as an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

This appointment could bode extremely well for both companies’ future ambitions as GSK seeks to accelerate its digital transformation and Microsoft is eager to wade deeper into the healthcare industry. Walmsley has been quick to improve GSKs digital expertise, by creating a new position of chief digital and technology officer a role that is to develop digital, data and analytics strategy for drug R&D. As well as in 2018, GSK created a new London based consumer healthcare digital innovation hub that brings together commercial and R&D functions to offer consumer facing digital solutions.

Microsoft has not been idle entering the healthcare market either, with the creation of Microsoft Healthcare in mid-2018 bringing Microsoft’s data and software capabilities to “help healthcare providers, biotech companies and organizations around the world to use artificial intelligence and the cloud to innovate.”

More relevant to GSKs hopes, is Microsoft recent collaboration success with St Judes Children Research Hospital to create what is said to be the world’s largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data, which aides tremendously for researchers in their drug development work. And with GSK focused on that sort of large scaled genetics project, shown by its previous £40m investment into the UK BioBank to sequence genetic data from 500,000 volunteers and its £300m equity investment into 23&Me as a part of bigger plan to utilise genetic and phenotypic data to streamline clinical enrollment and drug target discovery. This appointment bodes well for GSKs entry into the genetic data market which will hopefully accelerate its drug discovery and enhance its future pipeline.

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