Moderna, a biotechnology company that develops mRNA therapeutics and vaccines, has announced an agreement with IBM to explore next-generation technologies, including quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI), to accelerate mRNA research and science.
The companies said that they will invest in developing quantum computing skills to harness the power of this technology and explore its potential applications in Moderna's scientific challenges. Moderna will also participate in the IBM Quantum Accelerator program and the IBM Quantum Network, giving them access to quantum computing systems and expertise.
Furthermore, the company said that their scientists will work together to apply MoLFormer, an AI foundation model that helps predict a molecule's properties. This could help scientists understand the characteristics of potential mRNA medicines and optimize lipid nanoparticles, which encapsulate and protect mRNA, and mRNA itself to improve the safety and performance of mRNA medicines.
The biotech firm said that the partnership aims to develop novel AI models to advance mRNA science, prepare for the era of quantum computing and invest in building a quantum-ready workforce.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said they are aiming for breakthrough advances with quantum computing.
“We are excited to partner with IBM to develop novel AI models to advance mRNA science, prepare ourselves for the era of quantum computing, and ready our business for these game-changing technologies. We are aiming for breakthrough advances with quantum computing, so we are investing now in building a quantum-ready workforce, to be fully prepared to harness the power of this technology,” Bancel said.
Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, and Director of IBM Research, said the collaboration with Moderna exemplifies IBM's purpose to make the world work better.
“Moderna will be able to take advantage of our multi-year research efforts in generative AI for therapeutics that can allow scientists to better understand how molecules behave and may facilitate creating entirely new ones. We are also excited to work with Moderna to help prepare their scientists in the knowledge and use of IBM's industry-leading quantum computing technologies with the goal of accelerating the discovery and creation of new therapeutics,” Dr. Gil said.