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The Partnership Between D-Wave and Polarisqb Is Advancing Drug Discovery and Expanding the Quantum Industry

The partnership between D-Wave Systems and Polarisqb harnesses the power of quantum hardware to advance drug discovery without needing clinical trials.
By Kenna Hughes-Castleberry posted 07 Mar 2023

In order for an emerging industry like the quantum industry to succeed, successful partnerships need to be formed. For D-Wave, a market leader in quantum annealing hardware, there is no shortage of potential partners. One of these is Polarisqb, a company focused on leveraging quantum technology to innovate drug discovery. Together, the two partners have made some significant process. In a recent Ars Technica article, Polarisqb CEO Shahar Keinan explained the importance of partnering with quantum hardware companies like D-Wave in order to run through drug simulations. While this partnership is just one of many within this industry, it showcases what future partnerships will look like as the quantum ecosystem continues to grow, as quantum hardware companies can partner with software and other niche businesses to achieve successful results.

Using D-Wave’s Quantum Annealer

When looking at quantum chemistry and drug discovery, D-Wave’s quantum annealing system is a perfect choice. According to Murray Thom, D-Wave’s Vice President of Product Management: “Given the large number of variables and constraints, the drug discovery process involves several areas that are well-suited to quantum-classical hybrid technology, such as analyzing large data sets from clinical trials to guide precision medicine efforts or identifying and optimizing chemical compounds. Our solutions are ideal for tackling combinatorial optimization problems in this area.” To run specific use cases and drug simulations on this platform, Polarisqb uses a specific D-Wave plaform. “Polarisqb is accessing the D-Wave Advantage™ quantum computing system through the Ocean™ API to address drug design,” Thom added. “For background, Ocean is a suite of open-source Python tools accessible via the Ocean SDK on both the D-Wave GitHub repository and within the Leap™ quantum cloud service.”

For the Polarisqb team, this platform has given them some significant advantages: “From the PQB end it’s easy, D-Wave is fast,” Maurice Benson, Polarisqb’s Senior Software Engineer stated. “We can take a process that would take classical computers hours to weeks and get it done on D-Wave’s Quantum Annealer in a minute.”  Like many other partners, D-Wave is thrilled to see its hardware giving success to other companies. “We’re excited that Polarisqb is seeing strong results in its work with our system and that time-to-solution is much faster than existing approaches,” Thom said.

Why Partnership is Essential for the Industry

The partnership between D-Wave and Polarisqb benefits both companies, and illustrates how other quantum computing companies can follow suit. “Though Quantum Computing is still often thought of as a technology in more of a theoretical and research phase, this partnership is an example of how quantum annealers are ready today to help solve some of the most difficult optimization problems,” Polarisqb CEO Shahar Keinan added. Partnerships like this can expand certain types of quantum technology to other vendors and industries, but also bring novel benefits to difficult problems. As Thom said: “Nearly every industry stands to benefit from quantum computing to solve its most computationally complex problems, and life sciences is no exception. Through our work with Polarisqb, we’re able to demonstrate the value quantum technology can bring to the sector today, not five years down the road. It’s incredibly rewarding to bring our powerful quantum computing resources to a company dedicated to ‘producing drug blueprints aimed to treat and cure all diseases for all people.’ The potential impact is remarkable.”

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.

Categories: quantum computing

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