The human body’s reaction to a disease involves complex interactions between many proteins. Pharmaceutical companies conduct drug development by identifying a target and finding potential candidate medicines, a process that can take up to four years.
Synthesizing potential future medicines requires many interrelated calculations involving complex molecules, which classical computers struggle with. Current gate-based quantum computers are not yet powerful enough to tackle the problem beyond very small molecules.
Another type, quantum annealing processors, can solve protein folding problems and optimize drug trials. However, they have limited applications and are best used to refine the problem to be finished on a classical computer.
The consensus is it will be 10 years until quantum computing is commercially viable in the pharmaceutical industry
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