AWS powers biotech platform developing COVID vaccine

Biotech firm Moderna has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud provider, as well as its standard for analytics and machine learning workloads.

The firm is pioneering a new class of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) medicines, and will now upgrade its platform and manufacturing facility with the AWS-powered research engine.

Moderna delivered the first clinical batch of its vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19 to the National Institutes of Health for a Phase 1 trial 42 days after the initial sequencing of the virus. By building and scaling its operations on the cloud, Moderna is able to quickly design research experiments and uncover new insights, automate its laboratory and manufacturing processes to enhance its drug discovery pipeline, and more easily comply with applicable laws and regulations during production.

Moderna has invented proprietary technologies and methods that run on AWS to create mRNA constructs that cells recognise as if they were produced in the body. It runs the Drug Design Studio on AWS’s compute and storage infrastructure to quickly design mRNA sequences for protein targets. It then uses analytics and machine learning to optimise those sequences for production so that the company’s automated manufacturing platform can successfully convert them into physical mRNA for testing.

In addition, by leveraging Amazon's data warehousing service Redshift, Moderna’s scientists and engineers aggregate results from dozens of experiments that are running in parallel and can easily query and share insights to refine their design and production cycle quickly.

Moderna runs all of its SAP S/4HANA workloads on AWS, including manufacturing, accounting, and inventory management. AWS also powers Moderna’s automated production facility, which runs AWS Internet of Things services to connect the manufacturing instruments, robotics and other critical systems that quickly deliver the mRNA constructs for experimentation.

Moderna’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel said: “With AWS, our researchers have the ability to quickly design and execute research experiments and rapidly uncover new insights to get potentially life-saving treatments into production faster."

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