Fujitsu & RIKEN partner on generative AI & quantum computing

After announcing a new quantum computer, Fujitsu and research institute RIKEN announce AI drug discovery technology that can predict protein changes

Fujitsu and research institution RIKEN announce that they have developed an AI drug discovery technology that can predict structural changes of proteins from electron microscope images by utilising generative AI.

The news comes shortly after both companies announced the successful development of Japan's second quantum computer, as part of research efforts around the world to make technology more practical - and could work to help businesses best optimise their digital transformation strategies.

Fujitsu is planning to make its prediction technology for protein structural changes available today (10th October 2023) as an AI innovation component of the Fujitsu AI Platform, which allows users to quickly test out advanced technologies.

Businesses increasing research into quantum supercomputers

The launch combines the computing power of the newly developed 64 qubit superconducting quantum computer with the 40 qubit quantum computer simulators developed by Fujitsu. Both companies aim to provide the new platform to businesses and research institutions that are conducting joint research with them.

"It's kind of a first or second step, we still have a long way to go," says Shintaro Sato, Head of Fujitsu's Quantum Laboratory, as reported by Reuters.

Fujitsu and RIKEN will also further provide quantum computing and quantum simulation resources to businesses in key sectors including finance and drug discovery. Moving forward, Fujitsu is aiming to work towards an AI-based software that will automatically select from different computing resources and algorithms to offer the optimal solution to customers’ problems.

This collaboration aims to accelerate joint research using the new hybrid platform with various companies, universities and research institutes, as well as expanding the search for practical hybrid quantum applications in various fields including materials, finance and drug discovery.

There are plenty of other companies who are also conducting research into quantum computing strategies, including the likes of IBM and NVIDIA, with some committed to discovering healthcare solutions with AI. In fact, IBM conducted a similar partnership with Moderna to explore the use of quantum computing and generative AI technology in developing future mRNA medicines.

Generative AI research to offer healthcare solutions

Both companies are also exploring generative AI solutions for the healthcare sector. As part of a joint research project launched in May 2022, they developed generative AI technology that accurately estimates the various forms of a target protein's conformation and their possible proportions from a large number of projection images taken by electron microscopy.

Based on these two technologies, both companies have now developed AI drug discovery technology that can predict structural changes of a protein in a wide range, with the aim of developing next-generation IT drug discovery technology that significantly reduces development time and cost.

The technology aims to enable accurate acquisition of protein conformations and changes based on experimental data in more than ten times less time than conventional procedures, enabling innovation in the design process of drugs that bind to target proteins such as bacteria and viruses.

They will also work to leverage AI drug discovery technology as one of the core resources for analysing complexes between target proteins and antibodies and for predicting structural changes in molecules with high accuracy and speed. The goal is to discover revolutionary healthcare solutions to ultimately improve efficiencies for doctors, as well as potentially life-changing treatment for patients.

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