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Takeda and AWS accelerate COVID-19 research push

The pharmaceutical firm teamed with the cloud provider and Accenture to turn the corner on a digital transformation that includes faster ways to research therapies for COVID-19 sufferers, says Karl Hick, chief digital and information officer.

Takeda and AWS accelerate COVID-19 research push
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The public cloud has become a key facilitator for meeting new demands as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This has been especially true for the pharmaceutical sector in which multibillion-dollar companies race to cultivate therapies to treat complications and comorbidities associated with COVID-19, as well as vaccines.

Takeda Pharmaceutical, which make medicines for treating cancers, rare diseases and gasterentology ailments, is teaming with Amazon Web Services and Accenture to move 80 percent of its applications to the public cloud over the next five years. Takeda has partnered with AWS and Accenture to boost its R&D pipeline for drug discovery and to create new business capabilities, while eliminating on-premises technology and expenditures that don’t help differentiate the company from its rivals, Karl Hick, Takeda chief digital and information officer, tells CIO.com.

Accelerating data-sharing in response to COVID-19

More than 80 percent of companies are accelerating their digital transformations in response to COVID-19, according to a Boston Consulting Group research report published in October. With its ability to quickly scale, the public cloud market is forecast to grow 6.3 percent this year to $257.9 billion, according to Gartner research. Pharmaceutical companies are among the many multibillion-dollar players embracing this shift.

The life sciences industry — already undergoing seismic change thanks to genetic-sequencing and other emerging technologies — is seeing changes accelerated by the pandemic, Hick says. For instance, in just 5 days, Takeda launched a platform on AWS that enables pharmaceutical companies to collaborate on clinical trials, an effort that would have taken 3 months if it were built in its data centers, he says. That platform is making it easier for partners in the COVID R&D Alliance, a group formed in March by Takeda and several other pharma companies to cultivate COVID-19 treatments, to share data. COVID-19 has “really pushed us as an industry to accelerate alliances, with data sharing as a central tenet,” Hick says.

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