• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    New French Start-ups Revolutionize Quantum Computing in Healthcare

    BySam Figg

    Nov 21, 2023
    New French Start-ups Revolutionize Quantum Computing in Healthcare

    Paris, France, September 26, 2023 – French start-ups Pasqal and Qubit Pharmaceuticals have partnered with the Unitary Fund to win Wellcome Trust’s “Quantum for Bio” program. This collaboration aims to leverage the power of quantum computing to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.

    Quantum computing has the potential to transform drug discovery and development by significantly accelerating the process. The consortium formed by Pasqal, a leader in neutral atoms quantum computing, and Qubit Pharmaceuticals, a deeptech company specializing in drug discovery through simulation and molecular modeling, joins forces with the Unitary Fund, a prominent open-source non-profit in quantum technologies.

    The selected consortium is one of 12 winners in the Quantum for Bio program, alongside renowned organizations such as NASA, Harvard University, and the University of Cambridge. Pasqal and Qubit Pharmaceuticals are proud to be the only French consortium to receive this prestigious award.

    The consortium will receive $4.5 million over the course of 30 months to develop an algorithm for drug discovery. This algorithm will be designed to predict the reactivity of proteins in an aqueous environment, utilizing the capabilities of Pasqal’s neutral atom quantum computer. The Unitary Fund will provide software optimizations and error mitigation compilation, comparing the algorithm’s performance on Pasqal’s quantum machines against digital machines.

    “We believe that quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry, and through this consortium, we are bringing together the expertise needed to achieve high-impact results in a shorter timeframe,” says Loïc Henriet, CTO of Pasqal. The consortium aims to test innovative solutions on real-life problems as early as 2025.

    Jean-Philip Piquemal, Co-Founder & CSO of Qubit Pharmaceuticals, emphasizes the significance of this project in accelerating drug discovery. The new algorithm will play a crucial role in identifying drug targets and evaluating their potential interaction with molecules. Ultimately, this will shorten the time and investment required to develop new drugs.

    Pasqal, founded in 2019, builds practical quantum computers using ordered neutral atoms in 2D and 3D arrays. The company has secured over €140 million in financing to date.

    Qubit Pharmaceuticals, established in 2020, collaborates with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop safer and more effective drugs. Its Atlas platform leverages simulation, molecular modeling, and hybrid high-performance computing to discover new drugs. The company is based in Paris and Boston.

    The Unitary Fund, an independent non-profit research institute, supports quantum software development, error mitigation, and benchmarking. It also offers grants to projects worldwide.

    Quantum computing holds tremendous promise in transforming healthcare and drug discovery. With Pasqal, Qubit Pharmaceuticals, and the Unitary Fund at the forefront, the future of quantum in healthcare looks brighter than ever.


    Q: What is the Quantum for Bio program?
    A: The Quantum for Bio program aims to accelerate the use of quantum computing in healthcare by developing applications that will benefit from the arrival of quantum computers within 3-5 years.

    Q: What is the goal of the Pasqal-Qubit Pharmaceuticals-Unitary Fund consortium?
    A: The consortium aims to design a new quantum algorithm for drug discovery and implement it on Pasqal’s neutral atom quantum computers.

    Q: What is the significance of this consortium?
    A: The consortium brings together expertise in quantum computing, drug discovery, and open-source quantum technologies to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.

    Q: How will the funding be allocated?
    A: The consortium will receive $4.5 million over 30 months, with milestones set for the funding allocation at different phases of the project.

    Q: What are the expectations for the project?
    A: The consortium hopes to test innovative solutions on real-life problems as early as 2025, significantly accelerating the drug discovery process.