Category Archives: Blog

PolarisQB Announce Hiring of Pharmacologist Ian Reynolds

Polarisqb  is proud to add Dr. Ian Reynolds, a world renowned expert in pharmacology, as an advisor to the company. Dr. Ian Reynolds is an experienced pharmaceutical executive who has been recognized for his work in small molecule drug discovery and has helped a number of academic researchers translate into the world of biotech research and drug development.

Dr. Ian Reynolds, renowned pharmacologist, is joining PolarisQB as an advisor.

Following a PhD. from Johns Hopkins in pharmacology and a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Chicago’s Neuropharmacology department, Dr. Reynolds has been involved in a number of successful pharmaceutical ventures, including Knopp Biosciences and Teva Pharmaceuticals before taking over as the CEO of Belgium’s Rewind Therapeutics in 2018. He has studied a wide variety of Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases over the course of his career, investigating drug targets and therapeutic treatments for diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis.. 

 

Both Dr. Reynolds and Polarisqb  are excited about the continued development of the Tachyontm quantum drug discovery platform, as it holds great promise for novel drug development for many diseases that have proven difficult or impossible for researchers to reach. Strong computational models will end up enabling researchers to look at much more complex chemical interactions. As Dr. Reynolds stated, “The current in silico process for drug discovery requires that scientists simplify the characteristics they are testing for, to fall within the limits of classical computational parameters. The promise of computer aided drug design on a quantum system is that researchers could factor for a multitude of properties on a single run, allowing for a much more efficient process, better results, and shorter drug development timelines.” By utilizing quantum computing, the Tachyontm platform is able to identify the right molecule that will become a drug from a library of billion molecules in a fraction of the time that it would take for classical systems to run the same combinatorial optimizations. 

 

Polarisqb is utilizing quantum computing to reduce the timelines of computer aided drug discovery many times over. Dr. Reynolds expertise in pharmacology, and especially in CNS diseases, will drive forward the promise of quantum computing aided drug design. Dr. Reynolds predicts that “The future of protein targeting will likely be 100% in silico, but we are currently in the process of transitioning between a largely wet lab dependent operation and more powerful computing solutions like the Tachyon system that Polarisqb  is building. These systems have the potential to revolutionize the optimization process and with it the entire drug research and development industry.”

Quantum Startup POLARISqb Announces Expansion into Maritime Division

POLARISqb, a Durham based startup is a company that utilizes cutting edge computing to power computational chemistry simulations, developing quantum and near quantum software that cuts drug development timelines by more than half. However, recent events on the global stage got the company thinking about other ways that its algorithms could be used, and this week has announced the creation of the POLARISqb Maritime Division. This unique endeavor from the company intends to make waves in the business of dredging, salvage, and recovery consulting, providing services to companies around the globe. They intend to be three sheets to the wind in the expansion of their client base.

The company did not waste time in seeking out a Chief Nautical Officer, and

POLARISqb Chief Nautical Officer Shil Bippman

clearly like the cut of industry veteran Shil Bippman’s jib, who has always been known to run a tight ship. “Everyone has been aware for a long time that next to chemistry, materials science is one of the most quantum applicable fields of study at present” said Bippman, “when we did the math, both literally and figuratively, doing this kept us on the right tack.” Bippman went on to explain the ways that quantum thermodynamics and hydrodynamics could easily be simulated using the latest quantum annealing computers and algorithms very similar to the ones the company had already been developing. By changing a few variables and rerouting the power coupling using a fairly experimental capacitor from Emmett Brown Quantum called simply the “Flux,” the company was able to simulate complex interactions between multiple boats and impediments such as sediment and sludge buildup in a canal, or old timey pirates.

“Sand moves in fairly predictable ways, but when you introduce water, currents, multiple tugboats, and a line of ships 500 miles long waiting to pass, a lot of variables come into play.” Bippman explained. “It is thrilling to be able to toe the line of what is possible with vanguard of modern computing to negotiate what path for the dredger is going to get everything back hunky dory, and how multiple boats can maneuver in concert to solve multimillion dollar problems.” 

When asked about recent events in the Suez canal, and whether or not their software had been used to help free the marooned ship that was blocking the important trading route, Bippman was taken aback, stating, “Oh I do not know much about that situation, was it a dredging and tugboat issue as well? Well I certainly would not comment on our work with any clientele that had made it explicitly clear that we were not, under any circumstances, to discuss the details of  our partnership with their organization. Certainly not. No.” If they were instrumental in solving that crisis, it is clear that someone has asked them to batten down the hatches and not rock the boat. However if it was POLARISqb that got that situation shipshape and Bristol fashion, expect them to be all hands on deck with this new venture, as they will have sailors storming the gangways to work with them.

WRAL TechWire: Durham quantum-computing startup launches drug discovery platform it says is much faster

WRAL Techwire

DURHAM – Polaris Quantum Biotech (PQB) is coming out of stealth mode to launch a new drug discovery platform with UK-based Fujitsu that could help the global effort to quickly find a vaccine for coronavirus.

Calling it “ground-breaking,” Polaris says the platform is a combination of quantum-inspired technology, machine learning, hybrid quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics simulations (QM/MM).

The result, its co-founder Dr. Shahar Keinan says, is a new solution that enables significantly faster and cost-effective discovery of de novo lead molecules (repeat identification) that are used for the development of new drugs.

For many diseases the right drug still hasn’t been found, she added, and outbreaks such as the coronavirus are only highlighting the necessity for faster processes to find a cure in our world of global interconnections.

“We identified quantum computing as a technology at an inflection point that can dramatically reduce the cost and time it takes to develop new drugs,” said Keinan,  who once served as a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University and also co-founded Cloud Pharmaceuticals, also based in Durham, where she acted as chief scientific officer.

“We are actively tracking scientific developments with COVID-19 and are pursuing avenues to add our technology to the world-wide efforts to create small molecule drugs to combat this pandemic.”

The new platform will be able to produce up to 100 drug blueprints per year, the company says, compressing the lead time for preclinical drug candidates “from five years to four months,” enabling real time adaptability to the precision medicine market.

“The industry is therefore in profound need of innovation to speed up the drug discovery process,” Keinan said. “It is the combination of quantum computing and personalized medicine that Polaris will deploy in combination with these new targets to transform health for all people.”

$250,000 IN EQUITY

For those not in the know, quantum computing is the area of study focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum (atomic and subatomic) level.

Keinan co-founded the company with Bill Shipman, a former research scientist with The Scripps Research Institute,  while both were working at Cloud Pharmaceuticals. When Cloud Pharmaceuticals became a holding company, they licensed part of their technology for development.

The startup, which is currently located in Durham’s American Underground with three employees recently, raised around $250,000 in equity, according to a recent securities filing.

Keinan said the funds would be used towards developing a full platform prototype from two proof-of-concept studies, including its collaboration with Fujitsu.

Under the partnership, the platform will use Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer to search an exponentially larger molecular space (over 1 billion molecules) compared to current market techniques for new lead molecules.

Polaris says this platform can operate 10,000 times faster than any alternative solutions in the market. The short list of lead molecules identified by the Digital Annealer is then connected to Polaris’ proprietary machine-learning algorithm and quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics simulations (QM/MM) to quickly assess whether the molecules possess all the characteristics that a drug requires.

The resulting high-quality lead molecules are taken to synthesis and testing and finally to licensed pharmaceutical partners for further development, the company said in its release.

The current pilot is identifying the right molecules necessary to develop a treatment for dengue fever, a wide-spread disease with 100 million infections and 22,000 deaths every year. There is still no treatment for dengue fever that is suitable for all people affected.

The new lead molecules for a dengue fever drug are estimated to be made available for partners to take through to the next stages in the drug discovery process by this May.

In parallel,Polaris and Fujitsu said they are exploring the many other disease targets with pharmaceutical partners.