QuEra Computing, the leader in neutral-atom quantum computers, today announced that it is part of three out of 12 research projects that have each received funding from Wellcome Leap’s Quantum for Bio Challenge. These projects aim to investigate the potential impact of quantum computing on biology and healthcare. QuEra’s involvement in 25% of the selected by Wellcome Leap underscores the company’s pivotal role in promoting the development and expansion of quantum computing in complex scientific fields such as healthcare and biology.
Wellcome Leap’s Supported Challenge Program in Quantum for Bio is focused on identifying, developing, and demonstrating biology and healthcare applications that will benefit from the quantum computers expected to emerge in the next three to five years. Up to $40 million in research funding is being awarded to multidisciplinary, multiorganizational teams, and up to $10 million in challenge prizes are available at the end of the program for successful proof-of-concept demonstrations on quantum devices with a clear path to scaling to large quantum computers.
QuEra's technology is built on large-scale arrays of neutral atoms. It currently offers users up to 256 qubits on its Aquila-class machines and is actively working towards scaling up to much higher numbers. QuEra’s designs feature a unique combination of system size, coherence, and an innovative analog quantum processing mode that provides new ways to solve machine learning, optimization, and simulation problems. Furthermore, Aquila machines offer the added benefit of its FPQA™ technology, a field-programmable qubit array that provides flexible reconfiguration of its qubit positioning, comparable to designing a new chip layout for each computation. The hardware is complemented by Bloqade™, an open-source software package that assists with expressing and testing problems in this new way.
The three breakthrough projects in which QuEra is involved are:
Quantum Computing for Covalent Inhibitors in Drug Discovery
This project is led by The University of Nottingham, with partners Phasecraft and QuEra Computing. The discovery of new drugs has long been one of the most challenging tasks facing medical innovation. This project will demonstrate how this process can harness the combined power of quantum computing and classical simulation methods to tackle the crucial task of drug discovery for myotonic dystrophy, a genetic condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and wasting and often affects the electrical conduction system of the heart, breathing and swallowing muscles, bowels, and the lens of the eye and brain.
Accelerating Drug Discovery Using Programmable Quantum Simulation
The project, led by Harvard University, MIT, and QuEra, aims to develop and scalably implement quantum simulation algorithms that can accelerate computer-aided drug discovery. Biological experiments will be used to benchmark the quantum algorithms, and the project team will develop and demonstrate application pipelines that leverage quantum simulation to facilitate structure-based virtual screening. Specific research areas will include developing a pipeline for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and accurate estimation of ligand-protein binding affinity.
Quanta-Bind: Demystifying Proteins
This project, led by qBraid, with partners MIT, University of Chicago, North Carolina A&T, Argonne National Lab, and QuEra, aims to harness the potential of quantum computing for analyzing biological processes to improve human health. The team will focus on metal interactions with two key proteins closely associated with the pathology of Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD): amyloid-β and α-synuclein, respectively. This project will explore pioneering new computational techniques, integrating quantum chemistry with quantum computing to shed light on these intricate interactions, aiming to provide insights that could have far-reaching implications for human health.
"To support these groundbreaking projects, QuEra is excited to bring the transformative power of neutral-atom quantum computing to the complex and consequential realms of biology and healthcare,” said Nathan Gemelke, co-founder and CTO, QuEra Computing, “Our collaboration with esteemed academic and industry partners reflects a shared commitment to ushering in a new era of scientific discovery. Together, we're not just solving equations; we're aiming to solve some of humanity's most pressing health challenges."