Industry partnerships like this one promise to unlock new frontiers in chemistry; they have enormous potential to improve people’s lives, be it by revolutionising drug discovery or catalysing the development of novel chemistry for green and sustainable industrial processes."Professor Martin Ulmschneider
25 October 2023
Department of Chemistry partners with start-up to unlock the power of quantum computing to tackle neurological disorders
Danish firm Kvantify will provide industry support to academics and students alongside funding a PhD programme and internships
The Department of Chemistry has partnered with Danish quantum computing software start-up Kvantify to explore how quantum computing tools could give researchers the edge in developing new drugs for neurological conditions including stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The collaboration aims to capitalise on the department’s unique focus on harnessing the transformative power of chemistry to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges and Kvantify’s quantum computing expertise, fostering a dynamic knowledge exchange as part of a major investment in the natural sciences at King’s.
As part of the collaboration, three experts in quantum computing from Kvantify will take up positions in the department where they will work with faculty members and students, to catalyse the adoption of quantum technologies into research and teaching across the university. The company will also be funding a post-graduate researcher to use quantum technology in drug discovery and offer internships to undergraduate students.
Professor Martin Ulmschneider, Head of Department at the Department of Chemistry and academic lead on the partnership, commented “We are delighted to join forces with Kvantify, an industry pioneer in developing quantum computing software for chemical and pharmaceutical applications. Industry partnerships like this one promise to unlock new frontiers in chemistry; they have enormous potential to improve people’s lives, be it by revolutionising drug discovery or catalysing the development of novel chemistry for green and sustainable industrial processes.
The opportunity for our staff and wider faculty to collaborate with industry experts is an exciting one, and helps students understand the impact that the computational solutions they develop in the lab can have on the wider world”.
We are thrilled to partner with King's College London, an institution renowned for its academic excellence. Through this collaboration not only do we get access to the world-class talent and cutting-edge research facilities at King’s, but we also get the privilege of collaboration with their leading academics.Nils Anton Berglund, Head of Strategic Alliances at Kvantify
Over the past thirty years, molecular dynamics simulations, computer simulations which accurately model 3D structures like molecules and chemicals, have helped improve our understanding of why molecules do what they do at an atomic level.
In areas like healthcare, this has prompted a step change in the way we approach treatment, using our knowledge of how molecular systems work to design and create molecular structures that perform vital tasks, such as polymers that can stitch human tissue together.
However, to accurate simulate complex biological and chemical processes, such as how a drug may bond with a particular target area in the body, conventional computer hardware doesn’t have the necessary computing power. This inevitably places limitations on what the technology can accomplish in complex scenarios, such as drug delivery in the body.
Quantum simulations, computer simulations which model the behaviour of individual atoms and subatomic particles, can offer unprecedented levels of accuracy and realism in these models that overcome this issue. In so doing, they promise to revolutionise the simulation of biological and chemical systems.
At present, conventional computer hardware can only run limited simulations at the quantum level, yet by innately running quantum algorithms effectively quantum computing promises to overcome this bottleneck. This technology promises to bring an unprecedented clarity of understanding for chemical processes underpinning biology, medicine, and industrial processes, empowering scientists to develop life-changing new drugs.
Reflecting on how King’s and Kvantify could come together to leverage quantum computing to tackle neurological disease, Nils Anton Berglund, Head of Strategic Alliances at Kvantify, said “We are thrilled to partner with King's College London, an institution renowned for its academic excellence.
Through this collaboration not only do we get access to the world-class talent and cutting-edge research facilities at King’s, but we also get the privilege of collaboration with their leading academics. This will be the first step in aiding the department in the adoption of quantum technologies, unlocking further potential for quantum to do good and ensure King’s leading place in such an exciting and dynamic field.”