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Moderna and IBM to Explore Quantum Computing and Generative AI for mRNA Science

IBM Moderna

Insider Brief

  • Moderna invests in developing quantum computing skills and exploring the use of quantum computing in developing future mRNA medicines.
  • Moderna is a pioneering biotechnology company that develops messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines.
  • Moderna will participate in the IBM Quantum Accelerator program and the IBM Quantum Network.
  • Image: IBM

PRESS RELEASE — Moderna, Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA), a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an agreement under which Moderna will explore next generation technologies including quantum computing and artificial intelligence to advance and accelerate mRNA research and science.

“Since our inception, we have always strived to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, leveraging innovations to deliver the greatest possible impact to people through mRNA medicines,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “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.”

“IBM’s purpose is to be the catalyst to make the world work better, perfectly exemplified by this partnership with Moderna. We are witnessing a revolution in the world of computing, driven by extraordinary advances in AI and quantum computing,” said Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, and Director of IBM Research. “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.”

Quantum computing skills development for mRNA medicine design

Quantum computing is a rapidly emerging and transformative technology that utilizes the principles of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers. Moderna scientists will learn how quantum technology could be applied to previously intractable problems for classical computers. Together, the companies will explore the potential application of quantum approaches to Moderna’s scientific challenges.

Moderna will participate in the IBM Quantum Accelerator program and the IBM Quantum Network. Under the agreement, IBM will provide access to quantum computing systems, as well as expertise to assist Moderna in exploring cutting-edge life sciences use-cases powered by quantum technologies.

AI models for mRNA medicine design

Moderna and IBM scientists will apply MoLFormer, an AI foundation model

that can help scientists predict a molecule’s properties, and could help them understand the characteristics of potential mRNA medicines. Moderna’s goal will be to use MoLFormer to help optimize lipid nanoparticles, which encapsulate and protect mRNA as it travels within the body, and mRNA, which acts as instructions to cells in order to fight disease. Under this initiative, Moderna and IBM will combine state-of-the-art formulation discovery with generative AI to design mRNA medicines with optimal safety and performance.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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