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Healthcare & Life Sciences

How Schrödinger is advancing COVID-19 drug discovery efforts with Google Cloud

June 23, 2020
Aashima Gupta

Global Director, Healthcare Strategy & Solutions, Google Cloud

Joe Corkery, MD

Director of Product Management, Healthcare & Life Sciences

Technology has been key in helping the healthcare industry take actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as doctors and nurses prepare for the possibility of a second wave, technology will take an even bigger role in the development of new medicines to fight COVID-19. 

To accelerate this drug discovery process, Schrödinger, a Google Cloud customer, has teamed up with Takeda, Novartis, Gilead Sciences, and WuXi AppTec in a philanthropic initiative to share ideas, resources, and data with the goal of developing antiviral therapeutics for coronavirus. As part of this alliance, Schrödinger, whose physics-based software platform enables discovery of high-quality, novel molecules for therapeutics and materials, is using credits from Google Cloud to enable rapid exploration and testing of potential new drugs. 

Schrödinger and Google Cloud first announced a strategic agreement earlier this year giving Schrödinger access to powerful computing capacity to accelerate discovery for its commercial partners and its internal pipeline. 

Historically, drug discovery relied more heavily on the experience and intuition of medicinal chemists, who had to synthesize and assay every potential compound by hand—a time-consuming and expensive process. Schrödinger's computational platform–powered by Google Cloud’s high performance computing–revolutionizes this process. With this technology, the initial discovery work can be done “in silico,” enabling chemists to investigate vastly more compounds than they ever could before. As they begin to actually synthesize molecules, they do so with the knowledge that they have already explored billions of potential designs and identified the ones most likely to succeed as therapeutics. With the backing of Google Cloud, Schrödinger's team can easily scale up their discovery work to meet the needs of the COVID-19 alliance..

With these credits, Google Cloud is providing Schrödinger with 16 million hours of GPU time to enable computational drug discovery, which, if used consecutively, would equate to 1,826 years of around-the-clock computing. All of this has the potential to considerably accelerate the preclinical drug discovery process for COVID-19. By utilizing tens of thousands of GPU computing hours and hundreds of thousands of CPU computing hours on Google Cloud, Schrödinger's computational design platform can triage and evaluate billions of molecules for two promising drug targets. That way, alliance partners can analyze the most promising compounds in the lab. Meanwhile, Schrödinger's drug discovery team is turning to additional targets—and again scouring chemical space for molecules that could become powerful medicines. 

We’re honored to support Schrödinger and its alliance partners in the work they are doing to identify new medicines for the betterment of everyone.

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