Pioneering quantum computing in R&D
Accenture Labs works with Biogen to apply quantum computing to accelerate drug discovery.
Quantum computing offers great potential to solve difficult business problems in entirely new ways through quantum-enabled optimization, sampling and machine learning algorithms. In collaboration with 1QBit, a quantum software company, Accenture Labs is conducting quantum business experiments through newly available quantum hardware platforms and software application programming interfaces (APIs).
As quantum computers become more readily available, it will be possible to compare much larger molecules than today, which opens the door for more pharmaceutical advancements and cures for a range of diseases.
Biogen is recognized as a biotechnology innovator and leader in pharmaceutical research and development. Its mission is to treat and ultimately cure neurological and neurodegenerative conditions.
Today, drug companies can run hundreds of millions of comparisons on classical computers; however, they are limited only to molecules up to a certain size that a classical computer can actually compute. With quantum computers, it is possible to compare molecules that are much larger.
Accenture Labs worked with 1QBit to adapt their pre-developed structural molecular comparison algorithm and cloud-based API to include Biogen’s additional pharmacophore requirements. Accenture and Biogen achieved a breakthrough that verified the quantum enabled method for molecular comparison was as good or better than existing methods, an advancement that indicates quantum computing has the potential to significantly improve the pharmaceutical industry’s drug discovery process and improve patient outcomes.
Quantum helps provide more contextual information about shared traits between compared molecules versus the traditional method.
Quantum allowed Biogen’s scientists and researchers to see exactly how, where and why molecule bonds matched, offering better insights and the potential to help expedite drug discovery.
Accenture and Biogen achieved a breakthrough that verified the quantum-enabled method for molecular comparison was as good or better than existing methods.
Our findings unveiled an advancement that indicates quantum computing has the potential to significantly improve the pharmaceutical industry’s drug discovery process and improve patient outcomes.
Based on the momentum from these breakthroughs, Accenture built a quantum molecule comparison application for Biogen that presents several clear advantages over classical computing.
Working toward the future
Accenture Labs’ researchers collaborated with Biogen to identify the quantum-enabled optimization processes most beneficial to the company. Currently, pharmaceutical and material science companies use a variety of computational-intensive methods to review molecule matches and predict the positive effects of potential therapeutic approaches while reducing negative side effects. There is clear opportunity for quantum computing to outpace the existing computing method and improve results.
Innovation delivered In just over two months, Accenture Labs, 1QBit and Biogen progressed from an exploratory conversation about quantum business experimentation, to a proof of concept that validated the quantum computing molecule comparison approach, to an enterprise-ready, quantum-enabled application with transparent processes that generates molecular comparison results with deeper insights about shared traits.
Using the traditional molecular comparison method to run comparisons on millions of molecules in conjunction with this quantum-enabled application to dive deeper and gather more contextual information on selected results offers Biogen a distinct competitive advantage through time to market and cost savings.
Quantum enables Biogen to dive deeper and gather more contextual information on selected results offering a distinct competitive advantage through time to market and cost savings.