Japan gets first generative AI supercomputer for pharma industry

Mitsui is collaborating with NVIDIA on the Tokyo-1 generative AI supercomputer to supercharge Japan’s US$100 billion pharma industry.

Tokyo-1 features an NVIDIA DGX AI supercomputer that will be accessible to Japan’s pharma companies and startups.

“Japanese pharma companies are experts in wet lab research, but they have not yet taken advantage of high performance computing and AI on a large scale. With Tokyo-1, we are creating an innovation hub that will enable the pharma industry to transform the landscape with state-of-the-art tools for AI-accelerated drug discovery,” said Yuhi Abe, General Manager of Digital Healthcare Business Department at Mitsui.

When operational later this year, the NVIDIA-based Tokyo-1 will help pharma researchers develop new drugs faster, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively — giving Japan an edge in the global market.

The project will provide customers with access to NVIDIA DGX H100 nodes supporting molecular dynamics simulations, large language model training, quantum chemistry, generative AI models that create novel molecular structures for potential drugs, and more. Tokyo-1 users can also harness large language models for chemistry, protein, DNA and RNA data formats through the NVIDIA BioNeMo drug discovery software and service.

Xeureka, a Mitsui subsidiary focused on AI-powered drug discovery, will be operating Tokyo-1, which is expected to go online later this year. The initiative will also include workshops and technical training on accelerated computing and AI for drug discovery.

Major Japanese pharma companies such as Astellas Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo and Ono Pharmaceutical are already making plans to advance their drug discovery projects with Tokyo-1.

Beyond the pharma industry, Mitsui plans to make the Tokyo-1 supercomputer accessible to Japanese medical-device companies and startups — and to connect Tokyo-1 customers to AI solutions developed by global healthcare startups in the NVIDIA Inception programme. NVIDIA will also connect Tokyo-1 users with hundreds of global life science customers in its developer network.