Every day, thousands of people cross the 520 bridge between Seattle and Bellevue, Wash. But for some of those people, the daily journey is more than just a commute: It is part of a years-long project to create a completely new kind of AI health tool.
In January, Microsoft announced a unique new partnership with Seattle biotech company Adaptive Biotechnologies to build a universal diagnostic using the two companies’ technology.
Speaking from the health tech stage at the 2018 GeekWire Summit, the leaders of that project described how they have created a tight-knit group of scientists and technologists to take on the challenge, even going so far as to physically integrate the teams.
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“It was extremely important to us that we would be working on this thing hand-in-hand, and not with a firewall, a bridge or a lake in between us,” Desney Tan, the general manager of Microsoft Healthcare, said during the panel. He was joined on stage by Adaptive Co-Founder and CEO Chad Robins and journalist Luke Timmerman, founder of the Timmerman Report.
“We really integrated ourselves as a single team,” Tan said. “We’ve got offices in each others’ facilities … The teams function about as tightly as any team can even though we live in two separate organizations.”
Tan said the combined group, which numbers between 40 and 50 employees, spends a lot of time traveling between Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and the Adaptive office in Seattle.
But closing the physical distance is relatively easy. It’s quite another challenge to integrate a deeply scientific company like Adaptive, which focuses on the intricate details of human biology, with a tech giant whose expertise lies in advanced artificial intelligence.
Desney Tan, left, and Chad Robins speaking from the Health Tech …read more