MetaMedical™ Solutions Inc

Novo plans $200m investment in quantum computing startups

Novo Holdings is planning a DKr1.4bn ($200.3m) investment to support startups focused on disruptive technologies, including quantum computing, sensing, and algorithms, for applications in healthcare.

The Danish investment company hopes that the funding will create a “vibrant seed and venture capital investment ecosystem” in Denmark. The company noted that quantum technologies are on a “steep development trajectory”, particularly in the Nordics. Additionally, while the investment mandate is global, it will be centred in Denmark with plans to potentially invest beyond the Nordics.

The Quantum Investments will be anchored with Seed Investments within the Novo Holding. Furthermore, a new dedicated sub-team will be established to foster quantum computing, sensing, and algorithms startups with healthcare applications.

Many companies and governments have made investments in developing quantum computing technologies capable of making scientific calculations that would otherwise take most computers millions of years. In the healthcare sector, these technologies have various uses, for instance, they could significantly speed up the drug discovery process.

Disruptive technologies can have a significant impact on the sector, one such example is artificial intelligence (AI). AI in healthcare is a booming market, GlobalData forecasts the AI market generated approximately $93bn in sales in 2023.

The use of AI in drug discovery has increased in recent years, with multiple companies investing in AI. GlobalData analysts have identified more than 250 unique active drugs using terms such as “AI” or “machine learning” in their drug description in 2022, but observe that the use of AI in drug discovery is still in its infancy and is expected to mature in the coming years. Quantum computing can potentially speed up the process even more.

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Novo Nordisk Foundation, which owns Novo Holdings, has made significant investments in the field of quantum computing in recent years. In February, the company awarded a DKr150m ($21.5m) grant to establish the Copenhagen Center for Biomedical Quantum Sensing. As part of the research project, researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Texas at Austin will aim to advance quantum sensing and imaging technologies in medical diagnostics and healthcare.

In 2022, Novo Nordisk Foundation also unveiled plans to build a Quantum Foundry as part of its quantum computing programme. The Foundry was established to develop quantum materials and quantum chips, as well as the associated fabrication tools. This all feeds into the company’s goal to develop a fully functional quantum computer within the next 10-12 years.

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