Tag Archives: pharmaceutical industry

Boehringer Ingelheim and Google partner for quantum pharma R&D

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Boehringer Ingelheim announced today a collaborative agreement with Google Quantum AI (Google), focusing on researching and implementing cutting-edge use cases for quantum computing in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), specifically including molecular dynamics simulations. The new partnership combines Boehringer Ingelheim’s leading expertise in the field of computer-aided drug design and in silico modeling with Google’s outstanding resources as one of the leading developers of quantum computers and algorithms. Boehringer Ingelheim is the first pharmaceutical company worldwide to join forces with Google in quantum computing. 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,” says 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 new collaboration is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s comprehensive digital transformation strategy with the aim to better leverage and accelerate the company’s promising pipeline and ultimately bringing more medical breakthroughs to patients in need. Boehringer Ingelheim is significantly increasing its investment in a broad range of digital technologies, encompassing key areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data science to better understand diseases, their drivers and biomarkers, and digital therapeutics.

“Extremely accurate modelling of molecular systems is widely anticipated as among the most natural and potentially transformative applications of quantum computing. Therefore, Google is excited to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim to explore use cases and methods for quantum simulations of chemistry. Boehringer Ingelheim brings both an impressive quantum computing team and deep expertise in real world applications of these capabilities in the pharmaceuticals space,” says Ryan Babbush, Head of Quantum Algorithms at Google.

Computational approaches are already a cornerstone in the design and development of innovative new medicines, making a significant contribution to improving the health of humans and animals. However, given their algorithm structure, today’s computers are not able to solve many of the real complex challenges which are essential for the early stages of pharmaceutical R&D, most importantly simulating and analyzing molecules related to disease mechanisms. Quantum computing has the potential to accurately simulate and compare much larger molecules than currently possible, creating new opportunities for pharmaceutical innovation and therapies for a range of diseases.“

Researching and developing new, groundbreaking therapies for diseases with high unmet medical need is what our work at Boehringer Ingelheim is all about,” says Michel Pairet, Member of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim with responsibility for the company’s Innovation Unit. “Together with Google, our goal is to apply the use of quantum computing in biopharmaceutical R&D and thus continue to make a decisive contribution to medical progress for patients around the world.”

“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,” says Markus Hoffmann, Google Quantum AI Partnerships.

Boehringer Ingelheim will invest significantly in the coming years to realize the full potential of quantum computing. The company has already set up a dedicated Quantum Lab and hired outstanding experts in the field of quantum computing from academia, industry, and quantum providers. Partnerships from Industry and Academia will complement the respective teams. Colleagues mainly from the Boehringer Ingelheim’s Innovation Unit and IT support these experts in their work.

First published by BusinessWire.

Medical Research

Passage of the Medical Research Future Fund Bill

The successful passage of legislation to establish the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Bill 2015 will significantly benefit the health and wellbeing of thousands of Australians. It will also strengthen Australia’s position as a global leader in medical research, says Professor James McCluskey, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at The University of Melbourne.

“The full $20 billion accumulated in the fund will double Australia’s investment in medical research. This will allow more commercial spinoffs to be captured for the benefit of Australians through innovation, leading to economic activity and new, highly-skilled jobs,” says McCluskey.

With an initial contribution of $1 billion from the uncommitted balance of the Health and Hospitals Fund, and $1 billion provided per year until it reaches $20 billion, the MRFF will support basic and applied medical research – and will be the largest of its kind in the world.

To ensure the MRFF meets the needs of the medical research community, amendments to the Bill include directing funding towards transitional research, which attracts added research funding from the commercial sector. Also included are suggestions by the Australian Green Party, such as ensuring that funding for the Medical Research Council will not be shifted to the MRFF.

By providing an alternative source of funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the MRFF will make Australia more competitive with other countries that already have multiple funding agencies.

The UK, for example, has the Medical Research Council – the equivalent of the NHMRC – as well as the $40 billion funded Welcome Trust; a charitable foundation that invests in medical research. The USA also has a number of very generous funding sources, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Research Foundation.

Researchers from the health, university, industry and independent medical research institute sectors will be able to access MRFF. It may also include interdisciplinary sectors such as medical physics, big data analytics and others contributing to national health and medical outcomes.

“Importantly, MRFF will also include initiatives that are currently not well supported by public research funding schemes,” says McCluskey. “For example, joint research with government or pharma [the pharmaceutical industry] in the development of new drugs and medical devices.”

The exact fields to be targeted will be determined by the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley. Advice will come from an independent board of experts including the CEO of NHMRC and eight experts in medical research and innovation, health policy, commercialisation, experience and knowledge in philanthropy, consumer issues, and translation of research into applications in frontline medical practice. The Minister will announce the members of the board shortly.

The MRFF will be established following Royal Assent of the Bill.

– Carl Williams