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.
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.”
By accessing close to 100,000 CPUs on AWS, the Relay Therapeutics team is able to perform the analysis of billions of compounds in one day. It solved the CPU cost challenge by capitalizing on the elastic capacity of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot Instances, which can be spun up and turned off as needed.
Read the full case study here to learn how Relay Therapeutics used AWS to accelerate drug discovery.