Quantum computing is already helping in drug discovery for incurable diseases

Oncological and inflammatory diseases are the target of researchers who are now using quantum computing combined with HPC to get innovative and effective drugs faster and cheaper.

Quantum computing – the great promise worldwide – is already starting to help to get the to the solution of the most diverse challenges that humanity still faces, namely in the area of health. It’s being used in hybrid form, together with more classical computational methods, to design promising treatments for oncological and inflammatory diseases.

One of the big bets in creating weapons capable of fighting these pathologies is the development of new drugs, and quantum computing enters this fight to boost the entire research process. From the need to perform massive simulations with drug molecules, to their modeling, not forgetting the phase in which researchers need to make predictions to better understand how these molecules can bind to target proteins in the human body.

It is with the use of high performance computing, combined with quantum computing, that it is hoped to significantly reduce the time and investment needed to discover new ways to treat patients.

One startup that has been most dedicated to pursuing this approach with cutting-edge computing resources to answer certain problems in healthcare – which to date have no solution – is Qubit Pharmaceuticals, founded in 2020.

Backed by NVIDIA, Qubit owns one of the largest GPU supercomputers in France for the exclusive use of research that is dedicated to find new meds. As early as next year, pharmaceutical companies are expected to begin testing the first drug candidates developed using these methods that combine HPC and quantum computing. “We are confident in our ability to dramatically reduce the time to drug discovery and cut its cost by a factor of ten,” admitted Robert Marino, president of the startup.

Using conventional research methods, researchers would have to synthesize, on average, five thousand compounds before preclinical trials to arrive at a drug that could be commercialized. Following this new approach, Qubit estimates that the number of compounds synthesized will be reduced to 200 by the time they reach a drug that can be brought to market, saving, as reported by HPC Wire, “hundreds of millions and years of development time.”