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Biogen develops quantum computing-based app to speed drug discovery

Collaborates with Accenture and 1QBit in neurological diseases

Biogen Accenture 1QBit quantum computing

A new quantum computing-based application aims to speed up the drug discovery and development process for complex neurological diseases.

Developed by Biogen, Accenture and Canadian software firm 1QBit, the app aims to dramatically cut costs and time to market for potential treatments for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The partners said it could also help repurpose pre-approved drugs more easily for new applications and even empower computational chemists to make new discoveries faster.

Govinda Bhisetti, head of computational chemistry at Biogen, said: “At Biogen, we’re always looking to harness cutting-edge technologies that push the boundaries of traditional pharmaceutical research to discover new treatments and cures for complex neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions.

“Collaborating with researchers at Accenture Labs and 1QBit made it possible to rapidly pilot and deploy a quantum-enabled application that has the potential to enable us to bring medicines to people faster.”

The first-of-its-kind application enhances Biogen’s existing molecule comparison method, during which it reviews molecular matches and tries to predict a drug’s positive effects while reducing its side effects, with quantum capabilities.

Quantum computing is beginning to approach the mainstream and provides a significant step up from ‘classical’ computing in terms of the speed at which it can address problems in areas such as energy, security and health.

Jeff Elton, managing director, Accenture Strategy, Life Sciences, said: “As quantum computers become more readily available, it will become easier for pharmaceutical companies to identify and develop new medicines for a wide range of diseases and conditions,”

Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director at Accenture Labs, added: “Through our collaboration with Biogen, 1QBit and our colleagues in the Accenture Life Sciences industry group, we have achieved a breakthrough that confirms the speed and accuracy of the quantum-enabled method for molecular comparison and takes another significant step toward improving the pharmaceutical industry’s drug discovery and design process to help deliver better patient and economic outcomes more efficiently.”

29th June 2017

From: Research

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