Back in January it was announced that Moderna, a US biotech company with a market capitalisation of about $7bn that few people outside of US biotech would have known much about, was using Amazon’s (US:AMZN) cloud technology to develope a class of medicines that apply messenger RNA. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform is central to analysing the data and making the whole process faster, reducing the time it takes to go from research to trials. Moderna (US:MRNA) was working with AWS on a range of drug candidates at the time; now it’s using this same approach to fast track a potential Covid-19 vaccine. In no small part thanks to Amazon, Moderna is leading the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The implications need hardly be explained, albeit some of the shine has since come off the initial announcement by Moderna that phase 1 trials were going well.
Using AWS is a powerful tool that didn’t exist for drug companies before. It eliminates wrong pathways, blind alleys and wild goose chases in super-quick time. It’s rather like playing chess against a computer that can analyse every potential move in a nanosecond while I try to remember how castling works – it's going to win.