Ireland-based multinational professional services firm Accenture is brewing beer at its new digital laboratory in the south Dublin suburb of Leopardstown to mirror the fermentation process used in biotechnology production as part of research on how to make the production of pharmaceuticals, such as a COVID-19 vaccine, more efficient.
Accenture's head of life sciences, Barry Heavey, stated that a team of 80 people are replicating the fermentation process at the Leopardstown laboratory, and a combination of artificial intelligence and data analytics is being used during the process.
The Irish Independent quotes Heavy as saying, "Brewing beer is very analogous to making a pharmaceutical.
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"If you are making a batch of beer, you might not know until the end of the process if it tastes very good or if it contains the right level of alcohol.
"Using data, you can find out during the process if your batch of beer is being made to specification.
"That's the same for pharmaceuticals. Take COVID-19, for example. After they prove that a vaccine works, every time they want to make a batch of it, it could take up to two years, and you don't want to find out at the end that the batch is no good or that it's not going to be effective.
"So you want to find out early and then course correct on the process. You can do that if you maximise the use of scientific data and AI and data analytics during the process.
"When you are assembling something on a production line, say in traditional automotive manufacturing, you can inspect everything as it's moving along a conveyor belt. But when you are making 10,000 litres of something in a massive fermenter, you have no idea if it's going well or going badly unless you start to use scientific data from the reactor."
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