Ozempic maker to invest $200M in quantum computing

Novo Nordisk, the Danish maker of the weight-loss drug Wegovy and diabetes medication Ozempic, has said it wants to build a functioning quantum computer by 2034.

Novo Holdings, the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk, will invest 1.5 billion Danish krone, or more than $214 million, over the period of 12 years to build “a full-scale generally applicable quantum computer.”

A fully functional quantum computer can very rapidly perform complicated calculations that classical computers cannot or would require several years to perform.

“A quantum computer therefore creates opportunities for developing new solutions in several areas such as climate change and the green transition,” the company said.

The grant will go to researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen and the program will also involve researchers from leading universities and startups in the US, the Netherlands, and Canada.

During the first seven years of the program, participating researchers and engineers are expected to develop materials and hardware for the quantum computer. Various quantum platforms will be explored to determine the most suitable one, Novo Nordisk said.

The remaining five years will be dedicated to scaling up the technology, which should result in a quantum computer capable of solving science problems that existing computers cannot crack.

“Especially within life sciences, quantum computers have revolutionary potential including development of new medicine, epidemiology, genome research, and neuroscience,” Novo Nordisk said.

The blockbuster success of Wegovy and Ozempic has turned Novo Nordisk into Europe’s most valuable company, whose market capitalization of $570 billion is bigger than Denmark’s economy.

Novo Holdings, which controls 77% of voting shares in Novo Nordisk, has used part of that money to become one of the leading investors in the Nordics, with a particular focus on biotech and healthcare startups.

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