Relay Therapeutics Uses AWS to Accelerate Drug Discovery
Relay Therapeutics is a precision medicine company transforming the drug discovery process by leveraging unparalleled insights into protein motion. Prior to testing promising compounds in the lab, scientists have to consider a molecular universe of available starting points numbering close to 10 billion compounds. They need to filter this extensive set down to the 100–200 compounds most likely to bind to the biological target.
By analyzing more compounds, scientists increase the chances they will find the right molecules to test in the lab. In a typical on-premises data center, with thousands of CPUs, the analysis of a billion compounds could take months. Deploying sufficient CPUs in an on-premises data center would also be cost-prohibitive, particularly due to the “bursty” nature of the analyses.
Sorting a table with billions of rows is not a trivial exercise. By using AWS technologies, we can deal with all that information efficiently, which helps us strive toward our ultimate goal—getting medicines to patients faster than we previously thought possible.”
Senior Vice President of Computation, Relay Therapeutics
Processing Billions of Molecules in 24 Hours
Typically, in traditional IT environments, pharmaceutical companies virtually screen a few million compounds at a time. Relay Therapeutics was determined to scale that number into the billions and turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to solve the challenge. “The major factor in selecting AWS over other cloud providers is the support we received from the start,” says Pat Walters, senior vice president of computation at Relay Therapeutics. “And it has continued to help us make our processes work more efficiently.”
Simplified Process for Scientists
On AWS, the company also simplified virtual screening so scientists can use open source scripts to kick off analysis on AWS Batch. The scientists then rapidly analyze the data by taking advantage of Amazon Athena, a serverless query service with no infrastructure to manage.
50% Savings in Compute Costs
On the Horizon: Processing 10 Billion Compounds
Since deploying the AWS high-performance computing solution, Relay Therapeutics has run multiple screens of five billion compounds. Because of the scalability offered by AWS, scientists can run the screens on multiple snapshots of the same moving protein target.
Achieving the Impossible
About Relay Therapeutics
Benefits of AWS
- Analyzes 5 billion molecular compounds in 1 day vs. months
- Reduces compute resource costs by 50%
- Enables scientists to easily run complex analysis
- Validates analysis parameters to avoid cloud cost overruns
- Scales compute resources as required for each analysis job
AWS Services Used
AWS Batch enables developers, scientists, and engineers to easily and efficiently run hundreds of thousands of batch computing jobs on AWS.
Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL.
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances let you take advantage of unused EC2 capacity in the AWS cloud. Spot Instances are available at up to a 90% discount compared to On-Demand prices.
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