Quantum Computing

Wellcome Leap Announces $40 Million Quantum Bio Program


Wellcome Leap announced its Quantum for Bio program, which focuses on accelerating the adoption of quantum computing in the health sector and tackling pressing health challenges.

The Wellcome Leap-Sponsored Challenge Program on Quantum for Bio aims to identify, develop, and demonstrate biology and healthcare applications that will benefit from the quantum computers expected to emerge in the next 3-5 years. Wellcome Leap uses bold and unconventional programs to accelerate discovery and innovation for the benefit of human health

The program will provide multidisciplinary, multi-organizational teams with up to $40 million in research funding and up to $10 million in challenge prizes for successful proof-of-concept demonstrations of quantum devices with a clear path to scaling to large quantum computers. This program is focused on developing algorithms that will be realized on quantum computers that are expected to appear in the next 3-5 years, expected to be able to execute programs with 100 to 200 qubits and O(105-107) depth, which is called the target resource.

Quantum and Life Sciences: New Frontiers

Quantum computing exploits the unique properties of quantum systems to enable solutions to problems that would be impractical using classical computers. Quantum algorithms offer exponential or polynomial acceleration compared to their classical counterparts and require quantum computers on a scale unrealized to date.

Quantum computer scaling is a considerable technological challenge due to its innate sensitivity to outside disturbances. Today’s quantum computers remain limited in size and computing power, which limits their practical applications. However, one promising area where quantum computing could provide short-term practical advantages is in human health applications, where biological data can be represented more efficiently on quantum computers than on classical computers.

Generation of genomic data and prediction of 3D protein structure involves large and growing data sets, requiring statistical and machine learning methods for data mining to make predictions relevant to research and clinical work. Quantum machine learning algorithms promise to outperform their classical counterparts and enable handling of larger data sets.

Three Stages

The Wellcome Leap Quantum for Bio-Supported Challenges Program has three phases.

According to the contest web page, Phase 1 focused on quantum algorithm development, where up to 12 cross-disciplinary teams with expertise in human health and quantum algorithm development will be selected for funding. The focus is on developing quantum algorithms that fit the target resource box, and a maximum of $1.5 million in funding will be awarded to each team selected.

Figure 1 Graph

Phase 2 focused on large-scale simulation of algorithms developed using classical high performance computing (HPC). Teams will be awarded a maximum of $500K for HPC costs and up to $250K for technical implementation costs and other related programs. To successfully complete Phase 2, the team will perform classical HPC simulations of their quantum algorithm over 30 to 40 qubits and compare the results to those obtained with standard classical approaches.

Phase 3 focused on implementing algorithmic solutions developed on quantum computing devices. Maximum funding of $2 million will be provided to a fully integrated team, and technical results will be evaluated and tracked by the Wellcome Leap Quantum for Bio internal team. The final evaluation will be carried out by an integrated team consisting of an in-house technical team and 4 or more external field experts in healthcare and quantum computing.


Eligible actors come from universities and research institutes: small, medium and large (including enterprise-supported) companies; and government or non-profit research organizations. We encourage individuals, research labs, companies or small teams to enroll in the program areas that best align with their skills and abilities.

Wellcome Leap welcomes project proposals from any legal entity, based in any legal jurisdiction, including academic, non-profit, non-profit and regulatory/professional organizations. Applicants are encouraged to contact Wellcome Leap about joining its Health Breakthrough Network by executing a MARFA (or CORFA for commercial entities) agreement. Full implementation of the Wellcome Leap MARFA is not required for application submission but is required for each award.

Read more at Quantum For Bio Wellcome website.


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