From the Office to the Lab, Amgen Uses AI Tools to Unlock Innovation

At Amgen, artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a technological advancement—it's a pivotal force transforming the future of biotechnology. “We're living through a ‘hinge moment,’ merging tech and biotech to revolutionize drug discovery and development, manufacturing and commercialization,” says David Reese, Amgen’s first chief technology officer, and former head of Research and Development. “By harnessing AI, Amgen is focused on accelerating the delivery of new therapies, while simultaneously boosting productivity and equipping our employees with future-proof skills."

This vision of what AI can do to advance medical science and help patients is why Reese has such conviction for applying this technology throughout the enterprise in his role as Amgen’s inaugural chief technology officer. And with his guidance, Amgen is embracing a significant shift, integrating AI across all operational levels to enhance productivity, foster innovation, and unlock the potential to accelerate the development of new therapies. Along with this broad adoption of AI tools, Amgen has also outlined its Artificial Intelligence Vision, with commitments to both build trustworthy AI tools and to use those AI tools responsibly.

“For a scientist with a new idea, emerging technologies are now cutting down the time it takes to find, analyze, and aggregate data from days and weeks, to moments,” Reese said, highlighting one example of the potential that Amgen’s leaders see for these tools as potent drivers of innovation. With tools from multiple partners now available, and growing more powerful every day, Amgen employees can streamline repetitive, time-consuming daily tasks, in both office and lab settings, freeing time to accelerate their efforts toward innovation that fuels their ability to serve patients.

Administrative AI tools free time for staff to tackle higher-level challenges

The application of AI at Amgen is happening across all facets of the company, with the most widespread applications in the form of productivity tools that are accessible to employees to use in their everyday work. AI tools like these have the potential to enhance and augment human skill and creativity. The primary goal of productivity uses for AI is to reduce or eliminate manual, repetitive tasks so staff can spend more of their time on higher-level challenges that help drive innovation.

Amgen was an early adopter of Microsoft Copilot, a generative AI productivity tool, and what started as a small group of employees experimenting with Copilot has now grown to 20,000 employees with access that has allowed them to test and learn with tools that will quickly become ubiquitous.

“Adopting Copilot and generative AI is important for Amgen and our industry,” said Amgen’s chief information officer Mike Zahigian. “Every second counts in our mission to serve patients. Any time we can reclaim is invaluable.”

Amgen's use of Copilot was featured during the 2024 Microsoft BUILD conference in Seattle, WA.

In the lab, AI unlocks new opportunities for drug discovery

Another space where AI is poised to make a powerful difference at Amgen is in the lab, where scientists are working to better understand and treat some of the world’s toughest diseases. To help accelerate research and development happening around the world, Amgen is using cutting-edge technology from companies like NVIDIA to build AI models that enable scientists to quickly tackle complex operations, such as “generative biology.”

Generative biology is a relatively new field that uses AI tools to generate models of protein-based molecules designed to interact with specific disease targets, then run simulations to predict which designs will be safest and most effective in humans. Scientists can now run millions of these simulations at a time to rapidly accelerate and improve the accuracy of pinpointing the most promising molecules to be developed as potential medicines for real-world testing.

Earlier this year, Amgen also announced the installation of an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD supercomputer named Freyja, at Amgen’s subsidiary, deCODE genetics, in Reykjavik, Iceland. This site is home to one of the world’s largest libraries of deidentified human data—almost 300 petabytes worth (1 petabyte is equal to 1 million gigabytes). Before the development of AI and machine learning, analyzing that amount of data would have been almost impossible, but now these tools are enabling Amgen to uncover and unlock new insights about human health and diversity that have the potential to dramatically change the treatment landscape for some of the world’s toughest diseases.

David Reese, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Amgen

“We want to effectively mine those data for deep biology insights that allow us to create new drug development programs for serious diseases,” Reese said at a recent summit held at Amgen’s headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where leaders from Amgen and NVIDIA met to discuss the potential for new technologies to advance medical science.

Kimberly Powell, vice president of healthcare at NVIDIA

"We have now what I would say is the AI factory. We've built it,” said Kimberly Powell, vice president of healthcare at NVIDIA, while addressing Amgen employees at the summit. “The software is there, the computing is there, and the data generation that you do in your exquisite science, and for the many decades of exquisite science and breakthroughs that you've had, the AI factory is now here to imagine a complete industrial revolution."

Looking for a career where cutting-edge technology powers life-saving science? Check out Amgen Careers.

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