Boehringer & Google accelerate drug design with quantum computing

quantum computing acceleratespharma R&D

Date: 19th January 2021

Digital technologies are transforming our healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.  With artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning, and data science giving us a greater depth of understanding of diseases and accelerating a new generation of drugs and therapies.

Now, Boehringer Ingelheim has announced a collaboration with Google Quantum AI (Google), focused on researching and implementing cutting-edge use for quantum computing in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), specifically including molecular dynamics simulations.

Boehringer Ingelheim, is a research-driven pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Germany, with a mission to develop innovative therapies that can extend patients’ lives, the company is already a leading expert in the field of computer-aided drug design and in silico modelling.  The new partnership will combine this expertise with Google’s exceptional resources as one of the leading developers of quantum computers and algorithms.

The partnership is designed for three years and is co-led by the newly established, Quantum Lab of Boehringer Ingelheim.  They are the first pharmaceutical company worldwide to join forces with Google in quantum computing.

Whilst, Boehringer Ingelheim already heavily invest in a comprehensive digital strategy, conventional computing cannot solve the most complex challenges that occur in the early stages of pharmaceutical R&D. Quantum computing has the potential to simulate and compare much larger molecules, and tackle high degrees of complexity.  Quantum computers leverage the quantum mechanical phenomena of superposition and entanglement to create states that scale exponentially with number of qubits, or quantum bits.

It is hoped the collaboration will create new opportunities for pharmaceutical innovation and therapies for a range of diseases, accelerating and enhancing the R&D process and significantly improving medical progress for patients around the world.

The digital transformation of the drug industry is already underway, and Google are not the first multinational technology giant to enter the pharmaceutical industry with the aim of re-imagining medicine.  We previously reported the teaming up of Microsoft with Novartis, who are revolutionising the future of drug development by combining advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology with deep life science expertise.

It is an exciting time for the pharmaceutical industry and collaborations like these are likely to spur the development of new groundbreaking discoveries in science and medicine, and will drive new and innovative technologies and treatments for disease and diagnosis.


For more information please see the press release from Boehringer Ingelheim