Quantum Computing for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical companies are using quantum computers to make drug discovery faster and safer
Maria Korolov

March 1, 2023

The cover of the quantum computing for the pharmaceutical industry report
Quantum computing could make finding novel medications faster Informa

A new report from Enter Quantum explains how quantum computers could hold the key to finding new ways of assembling molecules to create novel medications.

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

and that gate-based computers hold the most promise long-term. However, organizations should start researching quantum now to maintain a competitive advantage.

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