Alphabet spinout SandboxAQ launches AI drug discovery division

June 23, 2023

Alphabet spinout SandboxAQ has created a new biopharma molecular simulation division, called AQBioSim, to provide drug discovery solutions that leverage AI and quantum techniques.

According to the California-based startup, after several years of "stealth development," the company is now formally announcing the new division. According to SandboxAQ, it has been collaborating with the University of San Francisco’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases as well as early customers, including AstraZeneca and Sanofi.

AstraZeneca and Sanofi are working with SandboxAQ’s drug discovery and development tools to accelerate R&D from molecules to medicine. According to Sandbox, initial customer milestones show that these technologies can decrease the time and cost of developing new therapies, and de-risk drug portfolios before entering preclinical and clinical stages.

The company’s team is scaling up quantum chemical simulations using massively parallel classical hardware, including large scale linear algebra with tensor processing units (Google's custom-developed application-specific integrated circuits), large scale density functional theory (DFT) calculations and a computational chemistry method called DMRG. These tools serve as the catalyst for a suite of drug discovery solutions that combine the accuracy of quantum mechanical equations with the speed and power of AI, available on classical computing hardware.

 The division is focused on helping biopharma and research institutions achieve breakthroughs in treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other conditions.