Collaboration seeks to harness quantum computing for drug discovery

Insilico Medicine, Inc. (Baltimore, MD, USA) and YMK Photonics, Inc. (South Korea) announce a collaboration attempting to utilize photonics quantum computing and accelerated deep learning techniques for medical research.

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Dec 01, 2016

Insilico Medicine, Inc. (Baltimore, MD, USA) and YMK Photonics, Inc. (South Korea) have announced a research collaboration and business cooperation to develop photonics quantum computing and accelerated deep learning techniques for drug discovery, biomarker development and aging research.

This announcement follows the signing, in November 2016, of a memorandum of understanding by YMK and Insilico Medicine to pursue mutual benefit in deep learning and cognitive photonics computing. Insilico Medicine published multiple papers in 2016 applying deep learning techniques to drug discovery, including one by Ozerov et al. on dimensionality reduction of gene expression data, which hopes to pave the way for big data-driven projects.

YMK Photonics and LioniX International B.V., its joint venture in The Netherlands, develop photonics technologies for a range of applications, from telecommunications to optical diagnostic devices. Intending to extend into cognitive quantum photonic computing, the company is looking to build both commercial and research collaborations.

"YMK is pursuing a very big vision,” explained Kim Young Mo, Chairman of YMK Holdings. “Extending healthy human longevity is not only the most altruistic cause, but a pressing socio-economic necessity. Insilico Medicine [has] made substantial advances in applying deep learning techniques to drug development and aging research, but to accelerate the process and simulate entire human bodies and populations or generate optimal molecular structures, they could really benefit from our expertise in quantum computing. This collaboration is the first step towards cognitive quantum photonic computation for drug discovery and longevity research."

Further discussing YMK, William Jang, YMK Photonic’s CTO, commented: “Our conglomerate approach to photonics development allows us to occupy many niches, where our core technology is essential. One of such niches is quantum computing for deep learning. In this context, drug discovery and biomarker development seems to be a logical place to start."

"We are happy to collaborate with YMK Photonics, one of the leaders in photonics chips, commented Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, Inc. “Quantum computing is the next frontier in artificial intelligence research and we would like to harness its power for biomedical applications and specifically drug discovery and aging research."

The directions of the collaboration were described in an announcement to the Korean press (

– Written by Francesca Lake


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