Posted by: commonsresource | April 19, 2010

Open Source Drug Discovery – A Ray of Hope

Reading Glyn Moody’s post entitled Open Source Drug Discovery on his Open blog was an excellent way to start my Monday morning.  Not only is the story an excellent example of the application of commons sourcing principles in the area of medical research,  it is exciting to see India leading the way with its Open Source Drug Discovery initiative.

I am more neutral than Glyn on the impact of the intellectual property regime on medical research since I believe that the patent regime, through its economic incentives, has enabled many companies to conduct and fund research that has led to fundamental breakthroughs in this area.  That being said, I do agree that the intellectual property regime has created challenges in the areas of medical research and of access to medicine issues in developing and emerging economies.  In many ways, the current “dichotomous coexistence” between commercial software and open source software in the marketplace is a pretty good analogy.

To be perfectly clear, I strongly agree with Glyn that OSDD is, in his words, a “ray of hope” and have reproduced his extract from the  “What is OSDD” page below:

“OSDD is a CSIR Team India Consortium with Global Partnership with a vision to provide affordable healthcare to the developing world by providing a global platform where the best minds can collaborate & collectively endeavor to solve the complex problems associated with discovering novel therapies for neglected tropical diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis, Leshmaniasis, etc. It is a concept to collaboratively aggregate the biological and genetic information available to scientists in order to use it to hasten the discovery of drugs. This will provide a unique opportunity for scientists, doctors, technocrats, students and others with diverse expertise to work for a common cause.

The success of Open Source models in Information Technology (For e.g., Web Technology, The Linux Operating System) and Biotechnology (For e.g., Human Genome Sequencing) sectors highlights the urgent need to initiate a similar model in healthcare, i.e., an Open Source model for Drug Discovery.”

Thanks, Glyn, and Happy Monday to all!

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