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Novartis teams up with Amazon to 're-invent' lagging pharma manufacturing

LONDON, 6 Dec (APM) - Novartis has signed a new multi-year strategic deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a bid to make its core pharma manufacturing, supply chain and delivery opetations more efficient using the tech and retail giant's cloud services.
According to an AWS statement on Wednesday, the collaboration will focus on developing an "enterprise-wide" data and analytics platform which will change the way medicines are manufactured and delivered.
It is expected to yield new custom solutions powered by AWS' artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities which should drive "agility, innovation, and cost efficiencies" for Swiss pharma Novartis' global operations. It should "re-invent" pharma manufacturing, the companies said.
Planned solutions include Novartis 'insight centres' which provide real-time visibility across its manufacturing and distribution centres, that can enable manufacturing and planning teams to better forecast and track production lines, detect potential bottlenecks and then make adjustment recommendations to improve accuracy.
"Custom cloud-based solutions including 'insight centres' aim to put real-time analytics in the hands of associates within Novartis Technical Operations (NTO), empowering them to make better business decisions and increase efficiencies across manufacturing processes and supply chain," AWS said.
Novartis data scientists will also be able to experiment with new optimisation models to help ramp up production of innovative personalised treatments which are "more complex" to make.
"I'm really proud of how the teams are working together on the ground to bring Amazon-like user experiences to our associates. 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," said Bertrand Bodson, chief digital officer at Novartis.
"Using data science and digital technologies to reimagine the way we manufacture medicines is not only at the heart of our transformation, but also core to our ambition to bring innovative medicines to patients faster."
In a video link) on Novartis' website on the deal, Amit Nastik, global head of strategy and operations for Novartis Technical Operations, said: "Pharma manufacturing as a whole is not advanced as manufacturing in other industries. We are a highly regulated industry so there is a natural hesitation to try technology that is not fully proven."
For transformation, building high-tech manufacturing sites is needed, and data technology is a "big enabler" of that, he added.
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