Amgen expands pact with Amazon to usher drug manufacturing into the AI era

Seeking to identify ways to improve the discovery and production of medicines, Amgen is expanding its partnership with tech giant Amazon.

Specifically, Amgen is growing its decade-old collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS)—a widely used cloud platform—to create generative AI in a bid to increase the manufacturing throughput of pharmaceuticals.

The companies aim to use the tech to boost operations and sustainability at Amgen’s upcoming assembly and final product packaging facility, which is slated to open next year in the greater Columbus, Ohio, area.

Amgen's new plant is being designed to include the latest digital and robotic technology, which will include a connected platform on AWS using Amazon SageMaker. SageMaker is used to build, train and deploy machine learning models, AWS explained in a press release.

The aim of the platform is to help reduce the need for human operators to step in during the manufacturing process, among other goals. Further, the system will allow for the collection and reporting of real-time performance metrics that will be integrated with machine learning models to predict and prevent equipment failures.

Over the past 10 years, Amgen and AWS have been experimenting with generative AI and machine learning technology across the drugmaker's R&D functions. The partners are further using Amazon platforms to explore AI opportunities in Amgen's other areas of operations.

In the biopharma world, Amgen isn't alone in leveraging AI in an increasingly digital world.

Back in June, for instance, Sanofi unveiled a new app developed with AI company Aily Labs that provides a “360” view across all Sanofi activities. At the time, Sanofi also pledged to become “the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence at scale.”

The platform, dubbed plai, marked an important step in Sanofi’s company-wide digital transformation. Sanofi also incorporates AI across teams including research, clinical operations and manufacturing.

Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim has also become one of the latest drugmakers to apply machine learning tools to its drug discovery efforts. Earlier this week, the company said it would harness an IBM artificial intelligence model in a bid to discover new antibody therapeutics.

Separately, Boehringer recently struck up a target identification pact with Phenomic AI. The deal features an upfront payment of $9 million and up to $500 million in potential milestones.