On 17 March, in collaboration with Diamond, the PostEra team launched the COVID Moonshot to crowdsource drug designs from medicinal chemists. Then PostEra applied their technology, pro-bono, to determine if and how those designs could be made.

“We thought we might have 100 or 200 submissions,” says Lee, an associate professor at the University of Cambridge. “In fact, we got thousands.”

Over 4,500 molecular designs from 280 contributors around the world flooded into the submissions site PostEra set up for the effort. Two chemical synthesis companies have stepped up to physically make the compounds, providing their services for free or at reduced cost, and two pharmaceutical companies, UCB and Boehringer Ingelheim, are contributing employee time toward the effort at no charge.