Sony has teamed up with US biologists who already run the distributed computing project, folding@home (FAH).
The project harnesses the capacity of thousands of PCs to examine how the shape of proteins, critical to most biological functions, affect disease.
FAH say a network of PS3's will allow performance similar to supercomputers.
With 10,000 machines joined together the researchers calculate they should be able to do a thousand trillion calculations per second.
If that was achieved it would be nearly four times as fast as the world's most powerful supercomputer, IBM's BlueGene/L System, capable of 280.6 trillion calculations per second.