Sector News

Novartis taps Amazon know-how for ‘smart’ manufacturing, supply chain

December 5, 2019
Life sciences

Novartis has joined forces with Amazon, drawing on the online retail giant’s technological wizardry to reduce bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of its manufacturing and distribution.

The deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) is aimed at using the tech company’s cloud-based systems to collect inventory, quality, and production data across its network into central hubs, dubbed Insight Centres, that Novartis says will help it to track production in real time.

The increase in efficacy is essential in light of a shift in the industry towards the production of personalised therapies – such as Novartis’ CAR-T Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) for blood cancers – which are more complex to make than conventional drugs.

For Novartis, partnering with AWS buys into the many years Amazon has spent developing supply chain and automation systems that enable millions of products to be delivered to hundreds of millions of individuals.

Financial terms of the deal – which comes four years after the two companies first started working together – aren’t being disclosed. The deal also follows Novartis’ wide-ranging partnership with Microsoft to develop artificial intelligence tools for use in its R&D operations.

Novartis’ global head of strategy and operations Amit Nastik said pharma manufacturing as a whole is not as advanced as manufacturing in other industries, and because it is highly regulated “there is a natural hesitancy to try technology that is not fully proven.”

“The Insight Centres will allow us to look at our whole value chain from the start to the end, from how we source our material, how we do our demand forecasting, how we operate at the shop floor, to how we supply our customers and patients,” he added.

For instance, Novartis plans to use AWS Internet of Things (IoT) services to develop better visual inspections of manufacturing sites by generating images that can be analysed using computer vision algorithms.

That will improve its ability to monitor for risks to manufacturing production, such as unplanned downtime or delayed orders.

Meanwhile, for Amazon the deal marks another element of its push into the healthcare sector with deals such as its recent purchase of online symptom checking and triage tool specialist Health Navigator, and online pharmacy player PillPack.

By Phil Taylor

Source: PharmaPhorum

comments closed

Related News

May 21, 2022

As monkeypox cases emerge in US and Europe, Bavarian Nordic inks vaccine order

Life sciences

A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.

May 21, 2022

Moderna chairman Afeyan defends hiring practices after CFO debacle: report

Life sciences

Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.

May 21, 2022

Merck to pay up to $1.4B in cancer deal with Kelun, but details are scarce

Life sciences

Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”