Boehringer Ingelheim and Google partner for Pharma R&D

Published: 12-Jan-2021

The partnership will focus on the companies’ complementary quantum computing capabilities

Boehringer Ingelheim has announced an agreement with Google Quantum AI, focusing on researching and implementing use cases for quantum computing in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), specifically including molecular dynamics simulations. The partnership combines Boehringer Ingelheim’s work in computer-aided drug design and in silico modeling with Google’s 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.

“We are really excited about joining forces with Google, the leading tech company when it comes to quantum computing,” said Michael Schmelmer, Member of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim with responsibility for Finance and Corporate Functions. “Quantum computing has the potential to significantly accelerate and enhance R&D processes in our industry. Quantum computing is still very much an emerging technology. However, we are convinced that this technology could help us to provide even more humans and animals with innovative and groundbreaking medicines in the future.”

The collaboration is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s digital transformation, which includes significantly increasing its investment in digital technologies, encompassing key areas such as AI, machine learning, and data science to better understand diseases, their drivers and biomarkers, and digital therapeutics.

Computational approaches are already used in the design and development of medicines. Quantum computing has the potential to accurately simulate and compare much larger molecules than currently possible, creating opportunities for pharmaceutical innovation and therapies for a range of diseases, Boehringer says.

The company plans to invest significantly in quantum computing over the coming years. It has set up a dedicated quantum lab and hired in the field of quantum computing from academia, industry, and quantum providers. Partnerships from industry and academia are planned to complement the respective teams. Colleagues from the Boehringer Ingelheim’s innovation unit and IT will support the team in its work.

“The thought leadership of Boehringer Ingelheim's quantum research effort is very impressive. This is reflected in the quick turnaround time that their strong quantum research team got assembled, and their commitment to open research. We are looking forward to jointly working on the field with fundamental research and a joint vision for solving relevant pharma problems in the beyond-classical regime over the next decade,” said Markus Hoffmann, Google Quantum AI Partnerships.

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