Disrupting drug discovery with quantum-inspired computing

Main visual : Disrupting drug discovery with quantum-inspired computing

Applying virtual screening to achieve faster and more accurate lead identification

Drug discovery is slow, laborious and costly. The process of launching new medications can take a very long time – target identification through to launching a new patient treatment takes an average of 12-15 years per drug. Added to this we’re also seeing ongoing inefficiencies and spiraling costs, in some cases, R&D spending is increasing exponentially with it predicted to reach $200 billion per year by 2024.

The impact of this is felt across the pharmaceutical industry and medical profession, affecting the health of millions of people across the globe – making industry disruption critical.

Quantum-inspired drug discovery: Fujitsu’s Quantum-Inspired Optimization Services

At Fujitsu, we are now using our unique, quantum-inspired technologies and global expertise to disrupt and expedite the traditional pre-clinical drug discovery market. By blurring the lines between lead optimization and drug discovery, lead times are dramatically cut and new possibilities for computer experiments found.

Fujitsu has worked with industry SME’s to significantly improve the speed and chemical diversity of small molecule lead discovery. Combining our quantum-inspired Digital Annealer technology with FEP or quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM), we're able to reduce the drug discovery process by over a year, accelerating the early stages from 15 months down to 7 weeks. Our new solution is currently tackling dengue fever and COVID-19 by quickly assessing whether specific molecules possess all the properties that a new drug requires - including low toxicity, synthesizability and being biologically active. Billions of molecules are being searched at speed, with years cut off research time and costs greatly reduced.

Toray Industries, Inc. – a multinational corporation, headquartered in Japan – is collaborating with us to develop a new model for drug discovery optimization. This new way of working represents a shift from in vivo (animal experiments) through to in vitro (test tube experiments) and now to in silico (computer experiments).

By cutting the number of examples that need to be assessed during the later stages of the process, the range of possibilities drops to 1,000 or even 100. This means that the problem of large proteins, which a general-purpose computer failed to solve after three to four hours, can now be solved in about 20 seconds. Answers are now being found that were once out of reach of conventional methods.

With quantum-inspired computing, solving health problems just got easier

Today, we’re entering a new era of drug discovery, where the application of quantum-inspired computing technology is presenting pharmaceutical companies and researchers with an opportunity to take giant steps forward in the speed and accuracy of drug pipeline development. Development costs are cut, while the huge expenditure associated with failed trials is negated. And with drugs reaching the market faster, at a lower cost, more people can be treated for life-threatening conditions.

With our Fujitsu Quantum-Inspired Optimization Services, we are enabling smaller companies or small project teams within larger organizations to tackle some of the world’s most intractable illnesses, including the rapid development of therapies for pandemics.

Solving the world’s health problems just became easier and faster – read more about Fujitsu Quantum-Inspired Optimization Services in our whitepaper: Disrupting and accelerating drug discovery for faster and more accurate lead identification.