Fujitsu has teamed up with Riken to unveil new drug discovery technology

ICT provider Fujitsu has partnered with Riken, a research institute in Japan, to collaborate on new generation IT drug discovery technology to accelerate the digital transformation of drug discovery.

According to a press release, the companies will use the supercomputer Fugaku, which they have created over the past decade together with simulation AI technology. Through these technologies, it is hoped that the drug discovery technology they will develop will improve the accuracy and speed of molecular simulations, as well as establish an innovative technology that can predict changes in the structure of target proteins over a wide range.

Targets to be published by the end of 2026, new drug discovery solution targets aimed at complex molecular analysis of protein and drug candidates and prediction of large-scale structural changes of molecules with high speed and high precision.

Why it matters

In their search for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, researchers have focused on developing mid-molecular drugs and large-molecular drugs, which are thought to provide relatively few side effects with high efficacy.

Fujitsu and Ricken are undertaking a research project to explore new areas of the drug discovery process and help reduce the time and cost of the discovery process.

They hope to meet these targets using molecular simulation, computing and their respective AI drug discovery technologies to predict unknown complex structures of target proteins and drug candidate molecules.

The partners plan to introduce their upcoming drug discovery solutions to pharmaceutical companies and other medical field stakeholders.

Greater trend

Over the last few months some partnerships have been formed across the market to discover drugs for the treatment of certain diseases.

Last month, the US-based AI pathology firm PathAI has entered into a multi-year partnership with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to accelerate the development of drugs for oncology and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of fatty liver disease.

South Korean AI drug discovery company In December, the research institute Institute Pastor Korea signed a memorandum of understanding to use AI to discover new drug candidates for the treatment of tuberculosis.

French AI startup Iktos and drug discovery company Physiotherapy is also helping to develop a new drug treatment for muscle weakness and atrophy disorder called physioscapuluhumeral dystrophy.

On the record

“As the demand for rapid development of effective drugs grows, so does the expectation for successful introduction of IT drug discovery. At present, however, with the passage of time and accuracy, there are major challenges in implementing full-scale IT drug discovery in society. Riken and Fujitsu will work together to transform the drug discovery process by truly integrating computing technologies such as supercomputers Fugaku with pioneering Edge AI and machine learning technology, “said Fujitsu SVP of Research Seshi Okamoto.

“When the importance of AI and [digital transformation] Emphasis is being placed in various fields, global efforts are being made to accelerate drug discovery research using these digital technologies in drug discovery. In this joint research project, Fujitsu and RIKEN will collaborate to develop the world’s best computational technology for drug discovery using world-class supercomputer Fugaku. We will work to ensure that the results of this joint study are useful to patients around the world who are expecting new drugs, “commented Yasushi Okuno, director of Riken’s HPC and AI-powered drug development platform.

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