AWS and Pfizer team up to develop cloud solutions to speed up medical development

Pfizer is developing prototype solutions that incorporate a slew of AWS capabilities including machine learning, analytics, data warehousing, storage, and security.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Pfizer have joined forces to create cloud-based solutions to speed up how new medicines are developed, manufactured, and distributed for testing in clinical trials.

The pair will explore how AWS capabilities in analytics, machine learning, compute, storage, security, and cloud data warehousing can be applied to Pfizer's laboratory, clinical manufacturing, and clinical supply chain efforts.

"AWS's breadth and depth of cloud capabilities help support Pfizer's teams through secure, novel research methods as they work to optimize drug development and clinical manufacturing processes," AWS business development and industries vice president Kathrin Renz said.

"The past two years have reinforced for the world just how much speed and agility matter at every step of the research, development, and clinical manufacturing cycle when lives are on the line. We're proud to work with Pfizer and lend our deep domain expertise to assist in developing solutions that could significantly improve the lives of patients globally."

Some specific projects that AWS and Pfizer are working on include looking at how incorporating predictive capabilities with AWS machine learning solutions can enhance Pfizer's clinical manufacturing process.

They have also developed a prototype solution using AWS machine learning technologies to detect abnormal data points in Pfizer's clinical manufacturing platform for solid, oral-dose medicines. According to AWS, the machine learning-based prototype provided early warnings for alarms with minimal false positives and directed users to the relevant signals.  

A separate prototype is also being developed to automatically extract, ingest, and process data from legacy documents to assist in the design of lab experiments. The documents include data related to synthetic chemistry routes, recipes, analytical tests, method development, formulation composition, clinical manufacturing campaigns, batch records, technology transfer, and more.

"Pfizer's goal with AWS is to expedite the processes for drug discovery and development in ways that can ultimately enhance patient experiences and deliver new therapies to market," said Andrew McKillop, vice president of Pfizer pharmaceutical sciences, worldwide research, development, and medical.

Elsewhere, AWS boasted it has helped Target keep up with the growth of the customer demand online by revamping the Australian retailer's ecommerce platform, which resulted in a reduction of infrastructure costs by 90%.

The revamp saw Target trade its legacy on-premises systems for AWS cloud applications including DynamoDB, which allows Target to update its inventory lists and product availability in real-time, and RedShift and Glue, giving Target a data platform to analyse consumer insights and personalise the customer shopping experience.

Using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Target also reduced deployment of new online store features from two months to one day, according to AWS.

"In ecommerce, every second counts for consumers who want to make purchases quickly. With AWS, we have been able to significantly increase the speed and resilience of our online shopping platform, making our customers happier and driving sales in the lead up to the holidays," Target Australia managing director Richard Pearson said.

"Target is focused on simplifying online shopping, prioritizing online growth, and improving our product offering. AWS has been invaluable to Target as we grow our online presence, while equipping employees with skills to reimagine the retail experience through cloud, data analytics, and machine learning."

Target, which is owned by Wesfarmers and is part of the Kmart Group, first signalled plans to introduce AWS into its environment back in 2019. At the time, Kmart Group launched a company-wide AWS Skills Guild to put 1,400 employees through cloud training.

Just over a half year later, Kmart Group CTO Michael Fagan then detailed that Kmart Group was shifting its mainframe into AWS cloud, and labelled the move as the "holy grail of infrastructure projects".

On Tuesday, a whole host of websites and users that run on AWS were impacted by AWS going down. The issue started in the company's major US-East-1 AWS region hosted in Virginia. 

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