MACHINE LEARNING AND
Quality Control in Manufacturing
One of the chief challenges that drug companies face when manufacturing drugs is maintaining a set of very specific conditions. For instance, vaccines that are being test often have to be stored at a constant temperature for long periods of time; often over a year. If one of the conditions is disrupted, the entire batch can be compromised, amounting to an enormous waste of money and labor.
Drug companies, however, are increasingly able to ensure consistent quality standards with the use of advanced analytics. Merck, for instance, put in place data-collection technology to “identify the root cause of batch non-conformance issues,” according to . After more than 5.5 million comparisons between batches, researchers were able to identify measurable characteristics in the early "fermentation phase" of vaccine production that were strong predictors of how well (and how much) vaccine they could obtain by final purification.