We sped up cancer research.


Celgene’s on-premise High Performance Computing (HPC) system was slowing their computational researchers and their time to results.


They needed faster go-to-market times to release new drugs quickly and a way to enable collaboration between their own researchers and those from academic research labs.


We helped them create their migration plan and build their foundational layers on AWS, reducing completion time for HPC jobs from months to hours and enabling them to expand research and collaboration.

About the Business

Celgene is an American biotechnology company that manufactures drug therapies for cancer and inflammatory disorders. The company is building a preeminent global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for unmet medical needs in cancer and immune-inflammatory diseases.

The Business Challenges & 2nd Watch Solution

Celgene needed faster go-to-market times in order to release new drugs to the public more quickly. To support its pharmaceutical researchers, the company wanted to improve its high performance computing (HPC) capabilities. Its on-premise HPC system was slowing the company’s computational researchers, often taking weeks or even months to process large jobs, which slowed down their time to results. Celgene needed a solution that was scalable and secure to enable better collaboration between its own researchers and those from academic research labs that access Celgene’s HPC resources. The company also needed a partner to help it define its cloud approach and strategy.

Celgene chose AWS for its performance, scalability, robust storage capabilities and security of the platform. In phase 1 of the project, 2nd Watch helped Celgene define its approach to cloud adoption and define the company’s journey to AWS around two third-party applications. 2nd Watch performed an application readiness assessment to ensure both applications were cloud-ready, and after assessing internal resources to measure capacity to handle the migration of the workloads internally, it was determined that the company required assistance with the migration as well. In phase 2 of the project, 2nd Watch built out the foundational layers according to AWS Well Architected Framework best practices in order to push the applications to AWS.

Celgene now runs numerous HPC workloads on hundreds of Amazon EC2 instances and uses S3 and Glacier to store hundreds of terabytes of genomic data. With a shared collaboration space on Amazon VPC, collaboration researchers can now use the AWS environment to self-provision using pre-approved company images and access resources at will. The company relies on AWS IAM to securely control access to the environment and AWS Direct Connect for dedicated network connections.

The Business Benefits

Celgene has reduced the time it takes to complete HPC jobs for drug research from weeks or months to just hours, enabling researchers to run more queries and expand research. With the new highly scalable environment, Celgene researchers can run several simulations simultaneously without interference. As an industry leader in scientific collaboration, Celgene is able to expand its partnerships and provide isolated access for researchers from different organizations with AWS, which has allowed Celgene to expand its research with the public sector and many prominent research universities.

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