Inside Quantum Technology

POLARISqb, Phoremost team on quantum drug discovery for better cancer therapies

Quantum computing often has been mentioned as a solution for advancing the pharmaceutical sector through new drug-discovery capabilities, and we’re starting to see more movement on that front.

This week, Polaris Quantum Biotech (POLARISqb), a North Carolina-based quantum computing drug design company announced a collaboration with PhoreMost Limited, a U.K.-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing drugs against intractable disease targets, “to study oncology targets currently considered undruggable,” a statement from the companies said. The aim is to discover and develop new cancer therapies.

The pair will use the POLARISqb Tachyon quantum computing platform to scan billions of molecules from a large chemical space to find novel molecular drugs based on the information obtained from PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER phenotypic screening platform.  

The SITESEEKER platform “rapidly identifies unexpected or ‘cryptic’ druggable sites across the entire genome, within targets previously considered undruggable, using the inherent shape diversity and disease functionality of PROTEINi (protein interference) protein-fragment libraries in live cells,” the statement said.

POLARISqb, meanwhile, claims to have built the “first ever drug discovery platform using a quantum computer, Tachyon.” 

Many companies (among them Quantum Brilliance and most recently Aqemia) have worked on quantum computing efforts to improve the drug discovery process, and POLARISqb is taking that ambition on as its core mission. The company drew $2 million in seed funding in the summer of 2021 to give it a boost in that direction.

“By utilizing the increased power of quantum computers, POLARISqb is able to perform combinatorial optimizations in minutes that would take classical supercomputers months or even years to complete, leading to reduced drug development timelines and more efficient research,” the statement said.

“This collaboration is a significant milestone for POLARISqb,” said Dr. Shahar Keinan, POLARISqb CEO. “Quantum Computing technology is coming of age, allowing us to revolutionize drug discovery timelines and budgets, while improving the overall profile of the designed drugs.. The experience and speed of PhoreMost’s technology is a great match to POLARISqb and we are excited to work together.” 

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO, PhoreMost, commented: “This partnership represents the ultimate ambition for any collaboration between biology and technology, where the full diversity of newly identified druggable disease targets generated by biological PROTEINi shape-libraries can now be married to the most logical and rapid method of finding small-molecule drugs to them. This best-in-class intersection of biotech and AI is going to be an exciting and transformative milestone for the entire pharmaceutical industry.” 


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