French software leader Dassault Systèmes unveiled its strategic orientations for the coming years yesterday. They intend to focus on healthcare and life sciences, creating a virtual twin experience for the human body using their 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
Dassault is best known for their industry-specific digital solutions, often deployed by manufacturing and engineering teams. Their well-known 3DEXPERIENCE platform is mostly a business experience platform used for example for simulating factories or modeling airplane engines. The company is about to open new horizons in the medical sector.
In a briefing with journalists yesterday, Pascal Daloz, who has recently been appointed deputy CEO of the group, explained:
“We have spent thirty years digitizing objects, [mostly in the aeronautics and automotive industries]. Over the next twenty years we propose to digitize the health industry.”
The French group now wants to focus on “transforming how people are cured and helping them live a better life” and use their famous 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a digital twin of the human body. In a statement, Bernard Charlès, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Systèmes explains:
“The virtual twin experience of the human body will enable us to invent new ways of representing life by understanding and representing the invisible, and make a lasting contribution for the benefit of all.”
The software solution has been used for many years for 3D design and the simulation of cars and planes. The objective now is to use it to enable the modeling, searching and testing of surgical operations and drug treatments, precisely, virtually, without putting human lives at risk.
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Mr. Charlès carries on:
“In 1989, we created the first virtual twin of a giant airplane, the Boeing 777. In 2012, observing that the world was shifting to an experience economy that values usage over product, we dared to imagine a platform that would use comprehensive virtual twins of things as the place to navigate, evaluate, and holistically experiment with an idea to make it reality. We named it the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. (…) Today, we’re capable of applying the knowledge and know-how we acquired in the non-organic world to the living world, extending our focus from things to life.”
Just as engineers and stakeholders can collaborate and interact with the digital twin of an airplane engine through 3DEXPERIENCE and model it before it is actually built, tomorrow, doctors, researchers, physicians, scientists and even patients will be able to interact with a virtual model of a human body, evaluate the consequences of a treatment and “predict the invisible” before a patient is treated.
The need for digitization
The group didn’t take the world by surprise as healthcare is already a business strategy for Dassault Systèmes. Last month, they had already put the spotlight on their strategic orientations by releasing an ebook on the future of healthcare in which they promote the idea of virtual healthcare. In terms of business,healthcare also accounts for 20% of Dassault Systèmes’ sales. And in October 2019, the French leader acquired the American group Medidata, which specializes in the monitoring of clinical trials.
What the company emphasized with its new strategic orientations is the digitization of medical practice, which, according to Mr. Daloz, “is lagging behind the industry.” Dassault Systèmes has already developed drug formulation and medical device modeling. For Mr. Daloz, “the entire medical practice sector needs digitization.”
The acquisition of Medidata is already a step in the direction towards digitization as the objective is to create a digital platform to develop and market “smart therapies” using both 3DExperience and Medidata’s solutions. The possibility of creating a digital twin of the human body is a new strategic step in this direction.