Accelerating Drug Discovery Through Collaboration

Fujitsu has been working with POLARISqb as we build the first drug discovery platform for use on a quantum computer. See the excerpt from their case study and download the pdf below, or visit their site for more information.

From Fujitsu:

As has become painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, the development
of new drugs is not only hugely expensive, it’s also extremely time-consuming.
This combination creates a high level of business risk if new drugs fail to get market approval from government health agencies. If both the speed and accuracy could be improved simultaneously, the ability to develop new medicine more rapidly to combat new viral pandemics would soar.

Disease-causing pathogens often contain specific proteins that are responsible for spreading the infection; blocking these proteins is the key to stopping the disease. Early stages of the drug discovery process involve the identification of small molecules which can block these proteins by binding to them.

However, there is an almost infinite number of molecules to assess, and only a small number of these molecules will bind with the protein - finding the right one is like looking for a single star in a whole galaxy. Current library searching solutions are only capable of reviewing up to a few tens of millions of molecules and the existing process takes at least two years.

“The traditional approach involves screening thousands of candidate molecules to identify which might be suitable for testing, whereas we can screen trillions in a smaller timeframe by adopting new technologies, such as chemistry and machine-learning algorithms as well as quantum- inspired computing,” explains Shahar Keinan, CEO & Founder of POLARISqb. “However, full quantum computing is not mature enough at this point, so we needed to find partners with the right capability, which brought us to Fujitsu through the introduction from the healthcare team at Sia Partners.”

Fujitsu had engaged Sia Partners to find suitable partners to leverage its quantum- inspired Digital Annealer. POLARISqb represented a perfect example of a start-up that offered complementary skills and technology, enabling each partner to collaborate in an agile and efficient way.