Transforming Quantum Computing Hype Into Reality Through Collaboration
March 29, 2022: Quantum computing has been generating significant interest. From Google’s sci-fi-esque breakthrough of scaling ‘time-crystals’ to the news that quantum start-ups have drawn record investment, it is clear businesses don’t want to miss out on being a part of this disruptive technology. In the life sciences, quantum computing has the promise of transforming R&D processes and advancing drug discovery. Yet, despite recent headlines, widespread understanding of quantum computing in the life sciences is limited.
Our research finds that almost half of life science professionals (48%) say their knowledge of quantum computing is still “beginner level”. Moreover, the most cited barrier to successful adoption is the inability to articulate valuable use cases (35%).
If quantum computing is really going to revolutionize the life science industry, organizations must collaborate now. By pooling ideas, expertise and resources, organizations can discover the real-world applications that not only prove to budget holders that this is a technology worth investing in, but that will ultimately make a real difference to the most important stakeholders of all – patients.
Despite this, it is important that the quantum computing industry is engaged by life science at this early stage for co-development of applications. By working together on potential use cases with quantum computing software and hardware developers, life science companies can ensure they optimize machines for specific purposes, speeding up the development of hardware and software for their applications. In quantum computing, it’s not only hardware that has to be developed, but quantum algorithms are also required.
A common misconception is that quantum is a “fast” computer that will speed up any program it runs. But to solve specific problems, specific quantum algorithms are required. That reality is some way off and will need hardware, software, and data science experts to work together and identify the problems that only a quantum computer will solve. Once identified, the next step will be to build shallow algorithms for these problems.
Defining use cases, co-developing quantum platforms with technology providers, and developing industry positions, standards, and benchmarks, are exactly what the industry needs if quantum is to reach its full potential. Working independently makes little sense considering the nascent state of these applications, and the competition for available qubits with other large industries all clamoring for quantum.
Bringing together experts ensures there is a rapid exploration of near-term and future use cases, including co-development of platforms to solve specific biopharmaceutical industry problems. At the Pistoia Alliance, we have launched the Quantum Computing Community of Interest (CoI) alongside QED-C, QuPharm Alliance, and QPARC to do just that. The CoI aims to help companies navigate the pathway to quantum computing and enable the technology sector to better understand the requirements of the life sciences industry.
The CoI is currently in its ideation phase and is looking for companies to get involved to discuss future projects. To get in touch please visit: https://www.pistoiaalliance.org/community/quantum-computing/ or send an email to: ProjectInquiry@PistoiaAlliance.org for more details.
About the Pistoia Alliance
The Pistoia Alliance is a global, not-for-profit members’ organization made up of life science companies, technology, and service providers, publishers, and academic groups working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D. It was conceived in 2007 and incorporated in 2009 by representatives of AstraZeneca, GSK, Novartis and Pfizer who met at a conference in Pistoia, Italy. Its projects transform R&D through pre-competitive collaboration. It overcomes common R&D obstacles by identifying the root causes, developing standards and best practices, sharing pre-competitive data and knowledge, and implementing technology pilots. There are currently over 150 member companies; members collaborate on projects that generate significant value for the worldwide life sciences R&D community, using The Pistoia Alliance’s proven framework for open innovation.