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qBraid Awarded Q4Bio Contract by Wellcome Leap

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qBraid Awarded Q4Bio Contract by Wellcome Leap

qBraid will lead a team of researchers from MIT, UChicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and QuEra to develop quantum computing solutions for studying the interaction of metals and intrinsically disordered proteins

Chicago, IL – [Channel] – October 4th, 2023 – Wellcome Leap’s Quantum for Bio (Q4Bio) supported challenge program has awarded qBraid, a rapidly growing quantum computing software company, and its collaborators a contract to develop a quantum algorithm pipeline to better understand the underlying impacts of the proteins amyloid-β and α-synuclein on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.  

Under the project, qBraid will develop a quantum software pipeline alongside collaborators from MIT, the University of Chicago, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, and QuEra. The aim of Wellcome Leap’s funding is to accelerate progress toward developing quantum algorithms which, in the next 3-5 years, will enable biology and healthcare applications. In line with this goal, the qBraid team will work over the course of phase 1 (1 year) to research and develop quantum algorithms that can aid in understanding the interactions between intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), relevant to neurodegenerative diseases, and transition metals, a field that is under intensive research. Specifically, the team will target metal-protein interactions involving amyloid-β (aβ) and α-synuclein (αs) which are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), respectively. The interactions between transition metals (copper, iron, etc.) and these IDPs are thought to play essential roles in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Much progress has been made in longitudinal studies as well as classical approaches, but current research involving certain metal-protein interactions is met with classical computational limitations, where the presence of multireference electron wave functions and high-correlations causes needed resources to scale exponentially. The qBraid collaboration’s approach seeks to sidestep these issues by using and developing certain quantum algorithms that have shown promise in areas where classical computation is limited. MIT’s Haslam and Dewey Professor of Chemistry Troy Van Voorhis recognizes that the collaboration with qBraid “holds significant potential to bridge quantum industry and academia at the biology-chemistry interface, and what the team will set out to do has never been accomplished before.”

qBraid’s proposed quantum algorithmic pipeline will leverage the resources of near-term quantum hardware to better understand certain IDPs and their interaction with transition metal ions, with the hope that this will lead to accelerated research in the development of effective therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. As UChicago collaborator Richard and Kathy Leventhal Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, and the James Franck Institute, Director of the Chicago Center for Theoretical Chemistry Laura Gagliardi mentions, "We are thrilled to be involved in a groundbreaking project aimed at tackling major medical challenges, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Our focus will be on the development of cutting-edge quantum chemistry computational methods, harnessing the immense potential of quantum technologies. This is a unique opportunity, which finds its perfect home in the vibrant quantum landscape of the Chicago area.” Including Chicago, the project will invigorate quantum involvement in North Carolina as collaborating Professor Raymond Samuel of NCA&T states,  “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues to bring quantum computing into an area of biochemistry.”

Another key collaborator, Dr. Yuri Alexeev, a computational scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, is ecstatic to explore how “variational quantum algorithms will be integrated with fragment molecular orbital (FMO) and other classical quantum chemistry methods. This is an important development allowing us to significantly scale up variational quantum algorithms and their applicability for solving grand-challenge problems in the biomedical field of science.”

Notably, the Wellcome Leap funded project aims to target deployment of the developed quantum algorithms on quantum computers ordering on the range of 100 to 300 physical qubits with the ability to implement circuit depths of roughly 105 to 107. Given the nascency of quantum computing and quantum hardware, the Q4Bio project is well aimed in bringing commercialization to the forefront of QISE initiatives and the qBraid team is poised to take advantage of Q4Bio’s funding with their expertise. As QuEra’s CTO Nate Gemelke states, “the use of QuEra’s hardware will be an exciting demonstration of the robust capabilities of our neutral atom hardware as well as a leading indicator of directions to further quantum variational algorithms for healthcare applications.”  The qBraid team are also excited to work with QuEra’s neutral atom hardware to push toward successful execution on real hardware by 2025. As qBraid’s quantum research scientist Kenny Heitritter mentions, “the QuEra neutral atom quantum computer has already demonstrated significant capabilities in scalability and high-fidelity control, making it an excellent choice for near term quantum computing applications.”

In addition to the algorithmic development and testing, the program allows the commercialization of its products. In this regard, qBraid expects to turn the developed quantum algorithms and associated technology into a fully fledged product offered via their cloud platform. qBraid’s CEO and co-founder, Kanav Setia notes that the “Use of quantum computers for understanding binding sites on protein molecules is one of the most challenging tasks with profound implications for mankind. We are grateful to the Wellcome Leap organization for providing our team an opportunity to push the envelope. When successful, we plan to commercialize our technology rapidly and deliver benefits to society.” qBraid’s vision is to be the one-stop platform for developing and deploying quantum applications. The team believes this project brings qBraid one step closer to the realization of their vision of being the one-stop platform for developing and deploying quantum applications.

About qBraid

qBraid is a premiere cloud platform for quantum software development. With proven usage in academia, industry, and the world’s top hackathons at QuantX, MIT, Stanford x Yale, and NYUAD, qBraid’s users can easily get started on 10+ quantum computers and dive deep into complex algorithms related to financial optimization, quantum machine learning and more with 25+ quantum software environments - all in one platform. qBraid is on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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