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SandboxAQ unveils biopharma unit, relationships with AstraZeneca, Sanofi

Quantum computing may offer the biggest benefits to the pharma industry with drug discovery and development, as all drugs work on the same quantum system as a quantum computer.
By Dan O'Shea posted 23 Jun 2023

SandboxAQ has made clear it will target a number of different markets with quantum solutions, and this week the firm formally announced its biopharma molecular simulation division, AQBioSim, news that comes after several years of stealth development, the company said. 

SandboxAQ also identified some of the parties the new division is working with, including AstraZeneca, Sanofi and the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), and is helping these and other bio-pharma and research institutions achieve breakthroughs in treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other conditions. 

Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi said, “We are very interested in the work SandboxAQ is doing to revolutionize drug discovery and development via in-silico simulation of molecular interactions using AI and quantum technologies. SandboxAQ’s leapfrog technology could significantly impact both preclinical and clinical development of drugs, and we look forward to seeing how it could support us in delivering life-changing treatments to patients worldwide, faster.”

Nadia Harhen, leader of the AQBioSim division, added, “Our AQ-powered solutions accelerate the drug discovery and development process, mitigating its slow, complex, and error-prone nature. By shortening the discovery funnel, de-risking portfolios, and uncovering winning formulas earlier, we empower bio-pharma companies and research institutions to prioritize promising compounds, accelerate therapy development, extend patent lifetimes, drive revenue growth, and get cures to patients faster.”

The technologies were leveraged through a collaboration with UCSF’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases in an effort to apply AI-powered simulation to rapidly identify potential therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. As part of the development, the researchers used SandboxAQ’s proprietary Absolute Free Energy Perturbation (AQ-FEP) software to generate thousands of predictions of molecular interactions, leading to some exciting new compounds.

“Neurodegenerative diseases are enormously complex and defy standard drug design,” said Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, who leads the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. “We need rational and structure-based design methods that can address the challenging diseases we face. Given the devastating nature of these diseases and the lack of effective therapies to treat them, techniques that accelerate new leads and reduce our discovery timelines are greatly needed.”

In targeting pharmaceutical applications, SandboxAQ joins a variety of other firms, including start-ups like Qubit Pharmaceuticals, which announced funding this month, QC Ware, Polarsiqb, and more.

SandboxAQ CEO Jack Hidary previously has talked a bit about the company’s biopharma ambitions on an episode of IQT’s Quantum Tech Podcast.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

Categories: quantum computing

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