- Novartis and Amazon Web Services entered a multi-year deal to make more efficient the Swiss drugmaker's manufacturing, supply chain and delivery operations.
- Amazon said the partnership will rely on its cloud services to help Novartis get better real-time information on its more than 60 production facilities, which sprawl across the globe.
- Novartis, as well as a number of its pharma peers, is working to improve how it collects and manages the reams of data generated across its business. The Swiss drugmaker had developed control centers to help oversee the 500 or so clinical studies it has underway, and appears to be building on that effort with this partnership with AWS.
Novartis executives said they believe the collaboration will improve the company's manufacturing, supporting an ongoing internal effort to streamline and reduce costs across its technical operations. But they also expect to build on the initial work with Amazaon and leverage its expertise in other areas, such as procurement or commercial operations.
The announcement is representative of a larger shift in the pharmaceutical industry to take advantage of troves of data and catch up with other sectors that are more digitally fluent. Increasingly, drugmakers are promoting chief digital officers into their executive committees and casting about for ways to revamp their operations.
In October, Novartis announced a partnership with Microsoft that will focus on the use of artificial intelligence to analyze data from experiments, clinical trials and manufacturing facilities.
The latest collaboration allows Novartis to take advantage of Amazon's experience in managing the shipment of millions of products in the U.S. and globally.
"There is a lot we can learn from the AWS team, and while manufacturing is a great starting place, we're keen to also explore where else we can apply this technology," Bodson said in Amazon's statement.
Amazon said it expects newly established "Insight Centers" to allow Novartis to better forecast production of medicines and detect possible bottlenecks. Using AWS, the drugmaker will be able to generate images from manufacturing sites that can be monitored for potential risks, such as unexpected downtime in production.