Accenture and Biogen have developed a first-of-a-kind quantum-enabled molecular comparison app designed to speed up drug discovery for complex neurological conditions such as MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Researchers at Accenture Labs collaborated with 1QBit to create the new application which enhances Biogen’s existing molecule comparison method with quantum capabilities.
Molecular comparison is a crucial part of early-phase drug design and discovery, and involves intensive computational methods to review molecule matches and predict the positive effects of a therapy or drug while reducing negative side effects. Quantum computing is a computing paradigm that has the potential to find the answer to complex business problems millions of times faster than classical computing by leveraging the properties of quantum physics
By leveraging quantum computing technology from quantum software provider 1QBit, the Accenture and Biogen’s app provides new insight into the molecular comparison process, as well as much deeper contextual information about how, where and why molecules match. This is expected to enable scientists and researchers to analyze large collections of molecules more quickly and cost effectively.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that there are more than 5 million Americans living with the condition; by 2050, the number could rise to 16 million. Alzheimer’s is just one example of a condition that has staggering financial implications for the US healthcare system – and families. This app has the potential to enable scientists and researchers to analyze large collections of molecules more quickly and cost effectively, which can have a positive impact on finding treatments and cures.
In just over two months, Accenture Labs, Biogen and 1QBit progressed from an exploratory conversation about quantum business experimentation to an enterprise-ready, quantum-enabled application that generates molecular comparison results with deeper insights about shared traits. “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,” said Jeff Elton, Ph.D., managing director, Accenture Strategy, Life Sciences.
“Accenture Labs is focused on helping clients across multiple industries prepare for the arrival of mainstream quantum computing, which offers great potential to solve challenges in entirely new ways through quantum-enabled optimization, sampling, and machine learning algorithms,” said Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director, Accenture Labs. “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.”