The Rhineland-Palatinate pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim and Google want to work together in the search for new uses for super-fast quantum computers for drug development. The partnership announced on Monday is intended to combine the experience of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) in the field of drug design in pharmacy with the technical capabilities of Google as one of the leading developers of quantum computers, the two companies said.
“Even if quantum computing is a comparatively new technology, we are convinced that with its help we will be able to provide even more people and animals with innovative and groundbreaking drugs in the future”, said BI CFO Michael Schmelmer. Today’s computers could not master many of the complex challenges that are fundamental to the early phases of pharmaceutical research and development, including in particular simulations and analyzes of molecules relevant to the disease mechanism. Quantum computers, on the other hand, have the potential to precisely simulate and compare much larger molecules than is currently possible. This would open up new opportunities for pharmaceutical innovations and therapies.
Quantum computer technology from Google
Boehringer says it plans to invest heavily in this area in the coming years. The company has set up a Quantum research laboratory for this purpose. According to its own information, BI is the first pharmaceutical company in the world to work with Google in the field of quantum computers. The partnership is planned for three years.
A quantum computer does not store information in the form of bits that can only have two possible states, namely one or zero. A “qubit” of a quantum computer can instead be both at the same time, i.e. one and zero. The quantum particle pauses in both states until you look at it or measure it. This means that quantum computers can theoretically be many times faster and more powerful than conventional computers. According to experts, quantum technology also offers other advantages – such as tap-proof data transmission.