Rahko Has Its Focus in the Right Place, But its Patent Portfolio Doesn’t Rock

Among the exciting new possibilities for quantum computing is faster and more efficient drug discovery, which could fundamentally change the way that the pharmaceutical industry operates. Rahko is one British start-up that is trying to be early in developing this technology, as shown by an application that published in August 2021. Rahko isn’t the only company looking into this technology, as other start-ups such as Quantum Brilliance and a consortium of pharmaceutical companies, QuPharm, have also expressed interest. However, neither Quantum Brilliance, nor any members of QuPharm have seemingly devoted any resources toward developing patents covering quantum computing for use in drug discovery, so Rahko seemingly has an advantage.

The problem for Rahko is that many of the members of QuPharm, such as Bayer, have massive amounts of capital and experience with patents. If quantum drug discovery begins to take off, it is likely that Bayer and other large pharmaceutical companies could design around Rahko and build out a robust portfolio, even without being first. Sure, it’s possible that the companies would be interested in buying Rahko instead, but a small start-up with a single patent doesn’t exactly make for an enticing purchase compared to one of these companies building out their own system, or co-developing a system within QuPharm. With its first application, Rahko first filed in the UK and later went into the US, and the UK application was published in March. However, since that UK application was published, no other applications for Rahko appear to have been filed. It would benefit Rahko to try to develop a more expansive portfolio early if it’s looking for a profitable exit later.

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