Bayer partners with Google for quantum drug discovery

The agreement sees Bayer leveraging Google Cloud’s Tensor Processing Units (TPUs). According to Google​, its TPUs are custom-develop, application-specific circuits used to accelerate machine learning workloads. The TPUs are designed to minimize the time-to-accuracy when training large, complex network models.

The aim is to apply this computing power to accelerate and scale Bayer’s quantum chemistry calculations. This will involve quantum mechanics being applied to computer-aided drug discovery, enabling the in-silico modelling of biological and chemical systems.

The partners stated that the objectives of the collaboration are to demonstrate that fully quantum mechanical modelling of protein-ligand interacts is possible. Further, the two companies will determine the scientific and economic viability of large-scale density functional theory calculations for practical applications.

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, outlined that accelerating drug discovery may be one of the most important applications for AI and high-performance computing in the healthcare industry, in terms of how new discoveries can be made with greater accuracy and speed.

“Bayer’s aspiration to be among the leading innovators drives us to continue to invest in novel and disruptive technologies to solve complex problems. Partnering with Google Cloud on TPU powered quantum chemistry complements our ambition to work with industry leaders and experts to quickly deliver on digital transformation,” said Bijoy Sagar, chief information and digital transformation officer at Bayer.

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