USA — Merck & Co., a global pharmaceutical giant, is intensifying its multi-year cloud migration strategy, moving a significant portion of its IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS), a leading cloud computing subsidiary.

The multi-year cloud migration, in partnership with consulting firm Accenture, aims to propel MSD’s capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, signaling a transformative era for the pharmaceutical industry.

Since 2021, MSD has been actively engaged with AWS, gradually transitioning critical IT applications, including machine learning software and data warehouses, to the AWS cloud platform.

The collaboration seeks to harness the immense potential of AWS’s analytics and AI capabilities, fostering advancements in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

AWS, with a staggering US$80 billion in revenue in 2022, highlights the pivotal role of cloud utilization in healthcare.

According to a press release on November 29, AWS and Accenture are actively engaged in migrating a substantial portion of Merck & Co.’s IT infrastructure to AWS, marking a significant milestone in their ongoing partnership.

Cloud technology, as highlighted in a report by GlobalData, plays a pivotal role in healthcare by expediting drug discovery, simplifying health data management, enhancing clinical trial efficiency, and minimizing disruptions in the supply chain.

Jemima Walker, an analyst at GlobalData, emphasizes the transformative impact of cloud computing on the pharmaceutical value chain, particularly in conjunction with enabling technologies like AI.

“Any company not investing in cloud computing will fail to reap the benefits of the technology,” Walker asserts.

In a notable achievement, Merck and Co. leveraged AWS’s machine learning model creator to develop HawkAVI, a platform designed to enhance product yield and gain insights into drug product automatic visual inspection processes.

The analytics provided by HawkAVI have led to a significant 50% reduction in false reject rates across MSD’s drug product lines, demonstrating the tangible benefits of AI applications.

Dave Williams, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Merck & Co., underscores the broader impact of the AWS partnership, emphasizing the crucial role of generative-AI applications.

AWS notes that Merck & Co.’s modernization efforts have already resulted in substantial IT operational savings, allowing the redirection of resources for further innovation.

Despite its positive financial standing, with better-than-expected Q3 earnings driven by sales of blockbuster drugs like Keytruda, Gardasil, and Lagevrio, Merck & Co. recognizes the imperative of staying at the forefront of technological advancement.

The pharmaceutical giant joins the ranks of industry leaders like Pfizer and Novartis, both longstanding partners with AWS, underlining the widespread adoption of cloud services in the sector.

AWS’s commitment to advancing AI solutions for drug discovery is further exemplified by its recent collaboration with US biopharma Amgen.

Simultaneously, rival cloud provider Google has entered a partnership with Insmed to develop generative AI tools for similar applications in drug development.

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