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Technology can only be considered successful if it addresses real-life needs – Xudong Lv

By Guardian Nigeria
02 March 2023   |   5:40 pm
Xudong Lv the co-founder of QuanMol Tech, Xudong Lv believes reveals in this interview that technology can only be considered successful if it addresses our real-life needs saying that the experience Lv accumulated through his research in quantum physics led to an important discovery in fundamental physics about the behavior of small particles that are…

Xudong Lv the co-founder of QuanMol Tech, Xudong Lv believes reveals in this interview that technology can only be considered successful if it addresses our real-life needs saying that the experience Lv accumulated through his research in quantum physics led to an important discovery in fundamental physics about the behavior of small particles that are bringing about a new wave of the industrial revolution. Combining his discovery with AI technology, Lv has launched QuanMol Tech to deliver innovative services used to accelerate drug design.

Can you explain what QuanMol Tech does?
We use AI-powered computational methods to understand the properties of molecules and thus provide solutions to accelerate molecules’ design. Molecular properties, including color and structure, can be applied to different scenarios, such as pharmaceuticals, energy, and chemicals. For example, if a molecule is needed to overcome the problem of human aging, then the design of this molecule can be done on the computer using our technology. The existing methods are based either on AI or computational chemistry, but not both. None of the existing methods can combine AI and computational chemistry effectively like QuanMol does. That’s what differentiates QuanMol.

You have tons of research experience. What is the main focus of your research?
My research is about quantum physics. Specifically, it is to understand the interaction between molecules, atoms, and light from the perspective of physical principles, which is also the scientific basis of QuanMol. In my current research, we use neutral atoms that are super cold to do quantum computation. This is the most promising technical path for making quantum bits (qubits) and forming quantum computers on a large scale. There are companies commercializing this approach, including a team from Berkeley (associated with my Ph.D. lab) and a team from Harvard. Both of them have attracted significant attention from the capital market. Quantum computing will bring a new wave of the industrial revolution in the future.

I have had a long-term interest in the medical application of quantum physics. For example, my Ph.D. research, “High contrast dual-mode optical and 13C magnetic resonance imaging in diamond particles,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presented the technique I invented to enhance MRI detection accuracy. I succeeded in improving the original signal intensity by about 1000 times. This is beneficial for medical treatment, cancer detection, and other precision measurements. My subsequent work uses the principles of molecular-atomic interaction to enhance imaging and visualization technologies.
I see that you had rich experience as a community leader, serving as the chair of GCEA (Global Chinese Entrepreneur Alliance) and board member of CEO (Chinese Entrepreneur Organization).

You are also an investor yourself. Can you describe how these experiences help you in funding QuanMol?
Science and technology drive advances in the modern world. However, capable technology leaders are required to convert great science and concepts, taking them from the lab to a production level and delivering them to society at large. In my opinion, three elements are critical to making this happen– good science and technology, entrepreneurial skillset, and capital. I am a physicist by training and want to manage all three aspects so that I can lead technology transfer and bring social and economic impact. In the case of QuanMol, the industry knowledge I amassed through my executive roles with the CEO and GCEA gave me a deep understanding of the pain points in the industry and helped me cultivate skills in identifying and developing potential markets and clients. My investment expertise and entrepreneurial background allow me to see the big picture necessary to develop a company strategy and roadmap.

Is that also why you studied both Economics and Physics?
A: I am interested in both Economics and Physics. I was initially guaranteed a place in the Physics program at Peking University because I stood out in the national physics Olympia in high school. I have faith that scientific innovation can change the world. But later on, I realized it takes way more than just theoretical research or academic studies to create meaningful technology innovations. From my perspective, the most difficult part of bringing about a life-changing impact is the industrialization of new science. We need leaders to integrate capital and technology. That’s what I want to work on, so I decided to take some courses on the business side as well.

Given your past experience, what do you consider most challenging about your role at QuanMol, and what are your goals?
QuanMol is a startup and our core team members have to take care of almost every small thing. I’m mainly in charge of our financing and strategy-making. I have experience in entrepreneurship and am well-known in investor circles. And it’s also my job to make business plans for our products, technology paths, development priorities as well as milestones. This is challenging because it requires a deep understanding of both technology and business.

QuanMol is a revolutionary product for chemists. This type of product has never existed before, and it will be challenging for the market to fully grasp our pioneering ideas. But as more companies adopt our technologies and launch new treatment drugs more cheaply and at accelerated rates, huge traction will be created, with more companies clamouring to enhance R&D operations by using QuanMol. That’s what I see as success.