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New partnership to cut time and cost of drug discovery using quantum chemistry

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A Helsinki-based quantum computing start-up has announced a partnership with IBM to explore quantum algorithms promising in solving complex issues in life sciences.

This collaboration brings together Algorithmiq’s algorithm developers with IBM’s expertise to explore ways to cut the time and cost of drug discovery and development.

The work will also contribute any work produced to Qiskit, an open-source SDK for quantum computers, with the aim of promoting and developing this nascent ecosystem.

As part of the engagement, Algorithmiq will become part of the IBM Quantum Network.

IBM’s researchers are collaborating with Algorithmiq to address how to overcome the main bottlenecks in today’s quantum hardware, such as limited speed, accuracy, and scale, for large quantum chemistry simulations.

The Finnish start-up Algorithmiq focuses on using the power of quantum computing in order to explore and bring new drugs to market more effectively.

On average, it currently takes around a decade and US$1bn for a new drug to get to market.

Sabrina Maniscalco, CEO and co-founder of Algorithmiq, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with IBM as we look to combine our world-leading quantum algorithms with IBM’s best-in-class hardware and quantum chemistry expertise toward realising the full potential of the technology for quantum chemistry simulations.

“Quantum computing holds the key to revolutionising the process of drug discovery and development.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be collaborating with a giant of the technology industry in our pursuit of this mission, placing ourselves at the forefront of innovation and the race to prove useful quantum advantage in the space.”

Guillermo Garcia Perez, CSO and co-founder of Algorithmiq, added: “Whilst unleashing the full power of quantum simulations will likely require fault-tolerant quantum computers, near-term devices like those developed by IBM, combined with our novel algorithms based on informationally complete data, are today already showing progress toward the demonstration of a quantum advantage for chemistry.

“This is a stepping stone for any application of quantum computers to life sciences.”

Ivano Tavernelli, global leader for advanced algorithms for quantum simulations, IBM Research said: “IBM believes the demonstration of quantum advantage in areas such as quantum chemistry is possible this decade.

“So, we are excited to collaborate with Algorithmiq in our efforts to push the industry forward, and we are impressed by the promising results they have achieved to date in improving the performance of near-term quantum algorithms.”

He added: “We are glad to support Algorithmiq’s ambition through the IBM Quantum Network, and believe that the company’s work could be pivotal in carving a path towards demonstrating quantum advantage with near-term quantum algorithms.”

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