NVIDIA and Genentech: Pioneering AI in Drug Discovery

Conal Cram
4 Min Read

Accelerating Healthcare Innovation with AI and Computing Technologies

In an unprecedented move, Genentech and NVIDIA have embarked on a multi-year strategic AI research collaboration, aiming to revolutionize the landscape of drug discovery and development. This partnership leverages NVIDIA’s prowess in accelerated computing and AI, merging it with Genentech’s expertise in biotechnology. As we delve into this collaboration, it’s clear that the fusion of technology and healthcare is not just the future, but very much the present.

The Role of Accelerated Computing in Healthcare

At the heart of this partnership is NVIDIA’s accelerated computing platform, which has become a cornerstone in various healthcare applications, particularly in imaging and diagnostics. Kimberly Powell, NVIDIA’s vice president and general manager of healthcare, shared:

“We were realising that compute needs were going to continue to increase at exponential rates, and your typical architectures were not going to be able to keep up with that, so we needed to invent a new computing model, and that was accelerated computing.”

Kimberly Powell’s Journey: Merging Tech and Healthcare

Powell’s journey mirrors the intersection of technology and healthcare. Beginning her career in electrical and computer engineering, she quickly found herself at the confluence of these two fields. “I got exposed to both technology and healthcare,” Powell explained. “In that work, I actually contacted NVIDIA to help build part of the solution. As a tiny little 60-person company, NVIDIA was just very receptive.”

Revolutionizing Drug Discovery with AI and Genomics

The collaboration will focus on optimizing Genentech’s proprietary machine learning algorithms on NVIDIA DGX Cloud. This synergy aims to enhance Genentech’s “lab in a loop” system, where experimental data is used to feed computational models for pattern recognition and predictive analysis in drug discovery.

Powell emphasized the transformative potential of AI in genomics, a field where NVIDIA is collaborating with Oxford Nanopore. “In this era of accelerated computing, a revolution was happening in that artificial intelligence had discovered computer vision and AI and deep learning had discovered that accelerated computing was the perfect architecture to build new neural networks and improve their capabilities,” she noted.

The Emergence of the Techbio Ecosystem

An exciting development in this collaboration is the birth of the ‘techbio’ ecosystem, a term that symbolizes the blend of technology and biology. This ecosystem is underpinned by the realization that vast biological data can be generated and analyzed effectively using AI methods and large-scale computing platforms.

The Future: Impact on Precision Medicine

This partnership is more than just a technological marvel; it’s a step towards the holy grail of precision medicine. “If you can reduce the time it takes to discover a drug to days or hours, and it also costs maybe dollars, that’s when we’re truly going to be able to present therapies that are tailored to you or to me individually,” Powell envisioned.


The collaboration between NVIDIA and Genentech is a testament to the power of merging AI with healthcare. It’s not just about creating faster computers or smarter algorithms, but about fundamentally changing how we approach health and treatment. This partnership is poised to set new benchmarks in drug discovery, harnessing the potential of AI to bring forth solutions tailored for individual needs.

We invite you to share your thoughts and perspectives on this groundbreaking collaboration. How do you see AI shaping the future of healthcare and drug discovery? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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Conal is a seasoned tech industry professional and content writer for numerous tech publications. With a strong background in software engineering and digital media development, he's passionate about sharing the latest updates and insights in the tech industry, particularly in artificial intelligence and other disruptive trends. In his spare time he loves a mezze platter and a good film, and if he's not playing Fortnite or spending time with his daughter you can assume he's at the dry slopes!
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