Algorithmiq, a Helsinki-based startup developing quantum algorithms to solve complex problems in life sciences, is set to collaborate with a Boston-based research team affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, to establish the new field of Quantum Network Medicine. Together, they aim to lay the foundations of a new era of disease mechanism, prevention, and treatment. One of the objectives is to tackle the $1bn cost and typically decade-long process required for Big Pharma companies to bring a new drug to market.
In combination with one of the co-founders of Network Medicine, Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Algorithmiq will apply its proprietary quantum computing algorithms to boost the capabilities of complex network science and achieve prediction and accuracy levels never seen before.
“With Quantum Network Medicine, we envision a world in which new drugs can be discovered and invented quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively, leading to affordable and precise medical treatments,” Professor Sabrina Maniscalco, CEO and co-founder of Algorithmiq, said. Professor Loscalzo hailed the application of quantum computing methods as “an exciting possibility” that could “set a new standard.”
Network Medicine — coined in 2007 to describe an emerging field that combines the principles and methods of systems biology and network science — is a new holistic approach to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of disease that considers the complex interactions between proteins in our body and the effects of drug molecules on those interactions. This has evolved from the “one gene, one drug, one disease” viewpoint, which has so far guided approaches to finding new drugs.
Network Medicine-driven investigations of disease pathogenesis — the process by which a disease or disorder develops — have found increasing evidence that demonstrates that human biology is inherently far more complex than previously appreciated. Network medicine approaches have been shown to be very promising in dealing with the complexity of human biology.
Such progress has given encouragement to Big Pharma, leading to the promise of overcoming the ongoing and decreasing yield in finding new molecular entities — where billions of dollars of annual R&D spend has been met with diminishing returns in new discoveries. The application of quantum computing methods adds another dimension.
Professor Sabrina Maniscalco, the CEO and co-founder of Algorithmiq says: “Network medicine is very promising, but it requires analyzing and computing large amounts of data. Quantum computing may hold the key to ‘power’ Network Medicine approaches to finding new drugs. We’ve been looking forward to this moment in time where two fields of research come together, and we couldn’t be more thrilled than to collaborate with the pioneers of Network Medicine themselves.”
Professor Joseph Loscalzo, says: “The potential application of quantum computing methods to the computational challenges of Network Medicine is an exciting possibility, both as a demonstration of the practical utility of quantum computing in general, and as a mechanism for solving high-dimensional network problems that are otherwise intractable by conventional computational approaches. If successful, the application of quantum computing to Network Medicine will set a new standard for and define the nascent field of Quantum Network Medicine.”
Dr Guillermo García-Pérez, Chief Scientific Officer of Algorithmiq, adds: “If we are to efficiently search for new drugs and new drug combinations, there is a pressing need for computational methods allowing us to access the immense chemical compound space, which until now, has been largely unexplored. At the microscopic level, drug-protein interaction is ultimately a quantum problem, and hence it requires a quantum solution.”
Professor Loscalzo joined Algorithmiq’s Symposium – At the Interface Between Quantum Physics, Complex Networks, and Life Sciences – earlier this month to discuss Algorithmiq’s new paradigm – Quantum Network Medicine.
For more details on this new research, Algorithmiq published a white paper as part of the Symposium, which can be found here.