Amazon targets pharma R&D, others with new cloud storage

Amazon has revealed a new cloud-based service called Glacier for archiving large amounts data on the cheap. The web giant ($AMZN) underlined the relatively low monthly storage rate of 1 cent per gigabyte, and the company highlighted a number of typical use cases that include housing data from drug research.

Biotech and pharma companies--whose data are the lifeblood of their vital R&D activities--often store massive amounts of data referenced during drug development to check experimental results, according to Amazon. Life sciences outfits typically store such data on tape-based systems and stash copies in multiple secure locations. Amazon's pitch to biopharma groups is to let Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud computing unit, handle the management of those data and relieve drugmakers of the operational overhead.

Large pharma companies have always been cautious about outsourcing storage of key R&D data, fearing mishandling of study results gathered over the course of pricey drug-development programs. Among the company's security measures, Amazon says that it will perform automatic data-integrity checks on the information from drugmakers and others that use the Glacier service.

For now, Complete Genomics ($GNOM), a provider of DNA sequencing, plans to use Amazon Glacier to store data as the company expands into the clinical genomics arena. With advanced DNA sequencers producing massive huge amounts of genomics data, Amazon and Google ($GOOG), among others, have been angling for their respective roles as service partners to R&D groups in the genomics revolution.

"As our company moves into the clinical space, we face a legal requirement to archive patient data for years that would drastically raise the cost of storage," Keith Raffel, Complete's chief commercial officer, said, as quoted by Bio-IT World. "Thanks to Amazon Glacier's secure and scalable solution, we will be able to provide cost-effective, long-term storage and thereby eliminate a barrier to providing whole genome sequencing for medical treatment of cancer and other genetic diseases." 

- get more about Amazon Glacier here
- see Bio-IT World's article
- and InformationWeek's story

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