Polaris Quantum Biotech Creates The First Drug Discovery Platform Built For An Annealing Quantum Computer

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Polaris Quantum Biotech, a leader in Quantum Computing for drug discovery, created the first drug discovery platform built for an annealing quantum computer. The company was founded in 2020 by Shahar Keinan, CEO, and Bill Shipman, CTO.

Below is our recent interview with Dr. Shahar Keinan, CEO at Polaris Quantum Biotech:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company

A: Polaris Quantum Biotech uses the latest quantum and cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to process, evaluate, and identify drug lead molecules 10,000 times faster than alternative solutions. For example, instead of completing iterative studies in a wet lab, which takes years and covers a small chemical space, Polarisqb identifies a diverse set of candidate molecules. The advanced optimization power of quantum annealing computers allows the company to search a chemical space of up to 10^23 molecules to find the ones that best fit a particular protein pocket, are synthesizeable, and have drug-like properties. The company’s technology allows researchers to complete an exhaustive and comprehensive search, removing blind spots and bias from drug discovery pipelines.

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Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: Building the first drug discovery engine for a quantum computing platform helped the scientists at POLARISqb develop expertise in running large-scale optimization problems on the D-Wave annealing quantum computer called Advantage. By using low minima calculation in quantum space, the team is able to determine the optimal molecular solutions to a problem based on constraints such as synthesizability, bioavailability, and other drug-like properties. In order to illustrate this approach, Polarisqb built an interactive experiment that allows users to use a quantum annealing computer to search a chicken and waffles menu for their most “optimized” meal using a Constrained Quadratic Model (CQM). Polarisqb provided the link to the code in a Gitlab repository, and D-Wave offers free cloud computing time to try it on their Advantage quantum annealing system.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: Our company partners with drug discovery companies, empowering those partners to accelerate their own drug pipelines with our quantum technology. While other types of quantum computing are in the early stages of development, quantum annealing systems routinely solve complex multi-variable optimization problems. In addition to our work in drug discovery, quantum annealing has proven to be a strong approach to other companies such as SavantX, which is performing optimization for Pier 300 at the Los Angeles Port, and Quantum South, which won an innovation award for Boeing for developing a quantum system for optimizing cargo loads in freight airplanes. The ability of these types of computers to handle complex multi-variable calculations is many times faster than today’s high-powered traditional computers, and we are utilizing this power to search chemical libraries many times larger than has been possible up to this point. This holds the promise of the discovery of diverse candidate molecules that may be good treatments or cures for a variety of conditions affecting millions around the world.

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Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: Polaris is continuing to develop our quantum annealing platform, and to seek new partners and customers. We are looking at automation of our processes, so that the translation of chemistry into the language of quantum computing can target huge chemical spaces of 10^23 molecules.

Our system today is able to search this unprecedented chemical space and to identify the best candidate molecules. This search is defined by the molecular properties of a partner’s drug discovery project and can be completed in less than 1 month. At PolarisQB, we’ve been using many of these features of our platform successfully for years, and we’re thrilled to combine them into this new platform and we are looking forward to sharing it with our partners.