Novartis, a Biomedical Research Institute has a remarkable name in the field of healthcare, and have been serving people for years in the research of medicine of diseases like oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory related diseases and many other serious issues. Besides the research, they have intense usage of technology because they need to research and calculate about the compounds available. In the research, they go for virtual screening of the molecules of the compounds used for the manufacturing of the drugs. This is their core computing work and they needed fast and inexpensive solution.
Novartis had 39 years of data to be scanned for virtual screening, and it was a giant task which demanded 50,000 cores and $40 millions. Company’s hpc environment was hundred percent utilized and the data size was growing exponentially. The security of the data was also very important and required an immediate fix. They were aiming at making some medication for cancer and wanted much simple, fast, extremely secure and inexpensive solution. They opted AWS for accomplishing their milestone. AWS has served many healthcare companies before and they implemented a solution for the Novartis which made them achieve to fasten their research and computation in the discovery of cancer medicine. It not only benefited Novartis, but also contributed to ease the pain of many patients waiting for the medicine to come to the market.
AWS used different products to address the problem of Novartis. The design of the solution was devised according to the requirement of the company. Novartis used CycleServer and Chef 11 server for their scenario. They had four availability zones and the data received was automatically orchestrated in all availability servers by CycleCloud. The data was encrypted and securely uploaded to S3. S volumes were deployed across the four availability zones using the combination of cycleServer and Chef.
There were 87,000 instances of EC2, S3 and Route 53 to take care of the job. For the scheduling purposes, Condor and CycleServer were used to manage the jobs over thousands of instances available at the same time besides maintaining and monitoring the progress of jobs as well as cost. Chef 11 server took care of all the configuration and app deployment related tasks. It also solved the problem of security because all the data going in and out of the systems were purely encrypted.
Using this strategy, AWS did the in-depth virtual screening of 10 million compounds. The data was too big because it contained 39 years of history of computation. This solution was devised by AWS for the environment of AWS and it did wonders for them. The devised solution was able to meet the computational challenge in about 9 hours. It cost Novartis only about $4,232 and most importantly, the results were amazing. This is because they were able to identify 3 compounds at the end of the computation. This solution not only gave the required outcomes in terms of cost and efficiency, but it also enabled the company to introduce state of the art innovation in their environment.
The collaboration of Novartis and AWS proved to be great success and because of that, Novartis is thinking about expanding its work with the AWS so that it can take more benefits from the amazing technology of cloud and services of AWS. Novartis is planning to work on billions of compounds instead of millions, and the size of the data will definitely be going towards the petabytes. This will be really a problem to manage the resources securely and at low cost. Definitely, AWS cloud computing will come into play at this point of time.
Both will be collaborating in some of the key technical areas. Data processing area for imaging purposes would be the most upfront project, and apart from these they will be working together in data mining and informatics for the purpose of next generation sequencing. Traditional In-Silico would also be one of the major milestones, in which both the companies would be working together on the topics of Chemical universe.
Novartis is taking further advancements in terms of medicine due to the great success they achieved in their first project. The project led the company to rebuild and rethink about the technical perspective. The collaboration will hopefully bring more commitment and satisfaction on different levels, and Novartis will thus be able to make more innovation and discovery in the field of medicine. AWS has collaborated with many healthcare companies and the results were really amazing, and there are fair chances of implementations of Cloud computing in more healthcare companies.