Ten-year partnership aims to harness the power of artificial intelligence and quantum computing for next-generation medical research


Cleveland Clinic and IBM have announced a ten-year partnership to launch the Discovery Accelerator – a center aimed at using artificial intelligence, high performance on the hybrid cloud, and quantum computing technologies to speed discovery in healthcare.

Key to the new collaboration is installation of the first private-sector, on-premise IBM Quantum System One in the U.S, to be located on Cleveland Clinic’s campus in Cleveland. The company will also install the first of IBM’s next-generation 1,000-plus qubit quantum systems at a client facility in the coming years, also to be located in Cleveland.

The collaboration is expected to build a comprehensive research and clinical infrastructure to enable big data medical research in ethical, privacy-preserving ways. The partnership will also facilitate discoveries for patient care and innovative approaches to public health threats like COVID-19.

Through the Discovery Accelerator, researchers plan to use advanced technologies to generate and analyze data to help enhance research in the new Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health in areas like population health, genomics, clinical applications, and chemical and drug discovery.

“Through this innovative collaboration, we have a unique opportunity to bring the future to life,” said Tom Mihaljevic, MD, CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic. “These new computing technologies can help revolutionize discovery in the life sciences. The Discovery Accelerator will enable our renowned teams to build a forward-looking digital infrastructure and help transform medicine, while training the workforce of the future and potentially growing our economy.”

This quantum program will be designed to actively engage with universities, government, industry, startups, and other relevant organizations. It will leverage Cleveland Clinic’s global enterprise to serve as the foundation of a new quantum ecosystem for life sciences, focused on advancing quantum skills and the mission of the center.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned one of the greatest races in the history of scientific discovery – one that demands unprecedented agility and speed,” said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IBM. “At the same time, science is experiencing a change of its own – with high performance computing, hybrid cloud, data, AI, and quantum computing, being used in new ways to break through long-standing bottlenecks in scientific discovery.

“Our new collaboration with Cleveland Clinic will combine their world-renowned expertise in healthcare and life sciences with IBM’s next-generation technologies to make scientific discovery faster, and the scope of that discovery larger than ever.”

The Discovery Accelerator will serve as the technology foundation for Cleveland Clinic’s new Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health, announced last month as part of the Cleveland Innovation District.

Supported by a $500 million investment from the state of Ohio, Jobs Ohio, and Cleveland Clinic, the center brings together a research team focused on broadening understanding of viral pathogens and virus-induced cancers. The center will also enhance knowledge around genomics, immunotherapies, and immunology with researchers expanding critical work on studying, preparing, and protecting against emerging pathogens and virus-related diseases.

IBM will provide Cleveland Clinic access to a variety of research and commercial technologies, including RoboRXN, a cloud-based platform that combines AI, models, and robots to help scientists design and synthesize new molecules remotely. Additionally, the company will offer access to Deep Search, a tool that helps researchers access structured and unstructured data quickly.

The Discovery Accelerator will leverage IBM’s multi-year roadmap for advancing quantum computing, bringing its revolutionary capabilities into the hands of scientists and professionals in healthcare and life sciences. In addition to an on-premises quantum system, Cleveland Clinic will have access to IBM’s fleet of more than 20 quantum systems, available through the cloud.

A critical part of the partnership plans to focus on educating the workforce of the future and creating jobs to grow the economy. The ten-year collaboration will include education and workforce development opportunities related to quantum computing.

“Quantum will make the impossible possible, and when the Governor and I announced the Cleveland Innovation District earlier this year, this was the kind of innovative investment I hoped it would advance,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Director of InnovateOhio.

“A partnership between these two great institutions will put Cleveland, and Ohio, on the map for advanced medical and scientific research, providing a unique opportunity to improve treatment options for patients and solve some of our greatest healthcare challenges.”