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Dash Enterprise in the Fight Against COVID-19
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Dash Enterprise in the Fight Against COVID-19

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Healthcare & Life Sciences


  • A digital pharmaceutical company takes fast action with Dash to visualize thousands of drug compound results in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Dash enables rapid development of custom digital tooling demanded by machine learning operations.
  • Dash integrates with existing digital research infrastructure, paving the way between the lab and information consumers.

Dashing forward in the race for results

A billion-dollar pharmaceutical company was using Dash to implement machine learning in its research and development of new treatments for genetic disorders and infectious diseases. In April 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the globe, the company jumped to action and developed a Dash application for screening the efficacy of thousands of drug compounds against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the disease.

The Dash application was deployed online, where users could filter results to view data plots that abstracted away thousands of parameters to illustrate the success of each compound against the virus in vitro. This speedy visualization and socialization of thousands of results, including microscopy images, was followed by the release of a research preprint four months later, facilitating open data access across the research community.


Clinical trial data can be explored, curated, and reported through a web-based Dash application like this example, which is available as a template application.

Powered by Python, made for machine learning

The pharmaceutical company’s platform applies machine learning models to millions of images collected each week from laboratory settings. The models are constantly learning about and adjusting the biology of the drug discovery process. To enable the iterative learning loop behind their platform’s success, the models must update regularly with new information, such as changes observed in a cell wall when a new compound is introduced.

Intensive machine learning operations like these require highly custom software tools. That’s why the company chose Dash, which enabled their software development team to create tailored tools for each experiment’s specific lab conditions, drug compounds, and disease models. The team started using open-source Dash to quickly develop analytic applications. Dash’s Python framework was well suited for automated processes and machine learning. The team could quickly prototype, iterate on, and deploy fully functional web-based applications in days or weeks instead of months.

Secure, industry-standard tool deployment

Dash had become a go-to framework for developing tools for the company’s platform. Shortly after, the company decided to invest in Dash Enterprise, opening up capabilities to easily and securely manage and embed their Dash applications in their existing infrastructure without disrupting well-established processes.

A Dash Enterprise license ensured that the team was quickly onboarded to the platform, where they could easily deploy, manage, and share their apps from the App Manager portal. Embedding middleware capabilities ensured that the company’s Dash applications could be deployed on their existing platform, and Plotly engaged the company to develop support for existing identity management infrastructure. This ensured users seamless access to the applications using their existing credentials — no need for re-authentication or multiple sign-ons.

Licensing Dash Enterprise also provided low-code capabilities to accelerate development time. On-demand creation of printable and interactive PDF and email reports, triggered reporting of point-in-time application views, and annotation are all included in Dash Enterprise. Themes, layouts, and templates make it easy to produce applications that meet the organization’s look and feel without having to consult a designer or front-end developer.

About Plotly’s Dash

Plotly’s open-source standard for analytic apps in Python gets 10M+ monthly downloads and is used by 50M+ users worldwide. Dash Enterprise is our analytic platform built on the OSS. Companies typically switch over because it’s more team friendly: it’s a low-code solution built for data scientists and the wider team. 

About Plotly’s Dash

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