Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pharmaceutical giant Roche is partnering with a quantum computing startup to find new treatments for disease.

Why it matters: The ability of quantum computers to model reality at the most foundational levels positions it as an ideal tool for rapidly searching for new drugs — provided, of course, the computers themselves can work.

Driving the news: This morning Roche announced it would begin using specialized algorithms produced by Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) to simulate quantum-level interactions in an effort to research new treatments for Alzheimer's and other diseases.

How it works: CQC doesn't build quantum computers, which harness the weird workings of quantum mechanics to perform computation at extraordinary scales. Rather, it designs custom algorithms that can produce useful insights when run on a quantum computer.

  • Roche will use CQC's EUMEN quantum chemistry platform to simulate quantum-level interactions in an effort to identify molecular combinations that could prove effective against disease.
  • Finding a new drug is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack, but the sheer speed of quantum computers can accelerate that process, saving drug companies money and hopefully getting new treatments to patients faster.

Background: Roche had previously worked with graduate students at the University of Oxford on molecular simulations, while earlier this month the European drug discovery firm Boehringer Ingelheim announced a partnership with Google on quantum computing.

  • "Especially in chemistry and material science, the impact of quantum computing is going to be profound," Ilyas Khan, CQC's CEO, told Axios in an interview last year.

The catch: While powerful, quantum computers are still error-prone and unstable, which has limited their practical value.

  • That puts a premium on the development of custom algorithms that can get the most out of these systems.

The bottom line: As Khan told me, "ultimately you need a quantum system to understand a quantum system."

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Sports

Live updates: Olympics formally kick off with "sobering" opening ceremony

Photo: Franck Fifi/AFP via Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway. But this year's largely spectator-less opening ceremony is a "sobering" event focused primarily on the athletes.

The latest: Japan's Emperor Naruhito officially opened the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.

55 mins ago - Sports

Cleveland Indians change name to "Guardians"

The Cleveland Indians baseball team announced Friday that it will change its nickname to the "Guardians," following years of activism and protests against a moniker considered offensive by many Native Americans.

Why it matters: It's the first time the team will change its name since 1915, a move that comes in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning that began with the murder of George Floyd.

Alabama governor: "It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks"

Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A frustrated Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) told reporters Thursday that "it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks" for the state's continued surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: Alabama has reported nearly 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week. It's one of the few states in the country with fewer than 40% of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.