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Biogen’s Genomics Solution Uses AWS to Advance Neurological Disease Research

2020

Industry Challenge

To identify potential new disease therapies, find new gene targets, and better understand neurological disease biology, researchers need an effective way to analyze the more than 1 PB of data from the UK Biobank—a long-term study of 500,000 individuals over 30 years.

Biogen’s Genomics Solution Leverages AWS to Advance Neurological Disease Research (26:36)
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Because all groups were already using AWS infrastructure, it was very easy to move data via bucket to each group that had an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud to use the data."

David Sexton
Senior Director of Genome Technology and Informatics, Biogen

Biogen's Solution

In order to analyze the UK Biobank’s massive amount of medical data—ranging from exome sequencing (protein-coding gene regions) to plasma biomarkers and biographic information—Biogen knew it “needed to have an informatic solution that could be matched to handling data at this scale,” says David Sexton, senior director of genome technology and informatics. Seeking a cloud-first solution, Biogen partnered with Databricks, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) and an AWS Life Sciences Competency Partner, to design a software solution stack that harnessed AWS to analyze the data efficiently and securely. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) provides the backbone for data analysis and maintaining the stack in the AWS Cloud; Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) provides a scalable storage solution for the project’s expanding petabytes of data; and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) provides robust security.

Benefits of Using AWS

Biogen’s AWS architecture enabled it to effortlessly work with partners to analyze data. “Because all groups were already using AWS infrastructure,” says Sexton, “it was very easy to move data via bucket to each group that had an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud to use the data.” With the insights gleaned from data processed by its AWS stack, Biogen was able to reposition its drug portfolio based on genomic evidence, identify new drug targets, and further uncover important insights into the biological basis of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.


About Biogen

Biogen is a life sciences company dedicated to eradicating neurological diseases. It has been pioneering neuroscience and biotechnology since 1978, and its portfolio currently spans 60 target treatments across eight diseases.

About Databricks

Databricks, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner in the APN and an AWS Life Sciences Competency Partner, offers a unified data analytics platform that enables data teams to collaborate with data engineering and data science tools to accelerate data-driven innovation. Databricks also offers a suite of genomics solutions that enable interactive genomic data processing and analytics at massive scale.


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