Finding effective medicines is hard. A model we have used in the past is one based on competition and some level of secrecy. New moves by the pharmaceutical industry, called “open innovation”, are operating along similar lines. Are we discovering the drugs we need quickly? No. I will describe an alternative model of drug discovery based on open source - all data and ideas are freely shared and anyone may participate at any level. This mechanism avoids patents. A project with the World Health Organization has been completed using this research model that found a way to improve an important drug used to treat Bilharzia. A new project is now underway attempting open source drug discovery, in this case for malaria. Some technological and psychological barriers to working in an open arena will be described, as well as some of the thrills.
Chair of The Synaptic LeapNo slides available
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