Novartis uses Amazon Web Services to improve the manufacturing process


The Swiss pharmaceutical titan is embarking on a multi-year alliance with Amazon’s cloud computing business – Amazon Web Services (AWS) – to leverage AI, data analytics and “Insight Centers” based on the cloud to reorganize the many steps involved in drug manufacturing, FierceBiotech reports.

It’s the latest collaboration from Novartis in its drive to digitize and streamline all phases of its operations – an initiative led by Chief Digital Officer Bertrand Bodson, a former Amazon executive who joined the business last year.

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AWS is stepping in to help Novartis tackle some of the pharma industry’s most persistent issues, such as suboptimal production models and murky supply chains.

Novartis is leveraging AWS’ prowess in data analytics and predictive AI capabilities to better produce hard-to-develop drugs, which could pave the way for faster development of more personalized drugs. Novartis delves deeper into the development of cell and gene therapy, but these types of treatments are incredibly complex to produce because they are personalized for each patient, which means development relies on mining tons of data. Thus, by strengthening its AI technology capabilities, Novartis can better control quality and usher in more precise therapies, while streamlining production.

Additionally, US politicians and consumers have criticized Novartis for skyrocketing prices for gene therapy — and pharmaceutical companies face pressure to lower those prices. So, deploying AI to help reduce the time it takes to bring drugs to market – and, therefore, the time it takes to start generating profits on new products – should be advantageous for the drug manufacturer if it is forced to reduce the drugs. prices.

Novartis also has access to an AI model that could help it better track inventory and combat costly supply chain incidents. Novartis is opening a connection to AWS-powered “computer vision” – an AI approach that essentially replicates a human’s visual system, giving computers the ability to see and recognize – to analyze frontline video footage to keep tabs on inventory and orders, STAT notes in its weekly newsletter.

“Poor supply chain visibility” has been identified as one of the top issues plaguing pharmaceutical companies, in part because not having real-time insight into manufacturing conditions can lead to trouble. Costly: When companies lax on quality control practices, drugs can become defective, leading to recalls that weigh on profits. But computer vision — which could detect problems as they arise — could theoretically help maintain high levels of quality and regulatory compliance, and help companies avoid recalls down the road.

Because giant, multifaceted

healthcare companies

have a wide range of cloud computing needs, opportunities abound for tech giants leveraging their cloud divisions to penetrate deeper into healthcare. Just months before announcing this collaboration with AWS, Novartis tapped Microsoft’s cloud arm to bring AI to its R&D departments.

The fact that it commits to multiple cloud agreements reveals that going with a single cloud provider may not be realistic for large healthcare organizations with varying needs – and that cloud companies could work out strategies to find their niche in a healthcare ecosystem that is becoming increasingly reliant on their infrastructure. : Approximately 80% of healthcare professionals see the cloud as a priority for their organizations in the coming year, according to a HIMSS Media survey of 200 leaders across the industry.

As big tech companies race to capitalize on the $11 billion healthcare cloud opportunity, we’re likely to see companies rolling out new capabilities to appeal to specific segments of the healthcare market: AWS just released a transcription tool for doctors, which could help it close deals. with hospitals, for example.

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