Liveblogging Open Science Summit-Open Source Drug Discovery

12:46:59 PM: Hi from Berkeley, California- I'm at the Open Science Summit Tweets on open innovation and drug discovery to follow!

12:51:12 PM: Aiden Hollis of Yale's Health Impact Fund is first

12:53:00 PM: Fund aims to reward pharma co's based on drugs' health impact, if companies agree to sell at cost. Financing would come from government.

12:58:32 PM: Health Impact Fund is planning a pilot project- but companies, countries, and drugs to be involved weren't specified. #oss2010

12:59:54 PM: RT @uaem: Jamie Love, from here: talking re: prizes to de-link cost of R&D from the cost of the final product #oss2010

1:05:11 PM: Love is again talking about rewarding a drug's 'health impact'. This is nebulous to me. How do you measure this impact a priori? #oss2010

1:15:04 PM: RT @OrthoNormalRuss: @carmendrahl when someone makes such vague assertions, they call them "details to be hashed out later" by some agency

1:16:56 PM: Love's talk was rich in econ-speak but vague on details- more may be found here: in a comment sent to WHO #oss2010

1:27:35 PM: Columbia U GS @OrthoNormalRuss is sad this session didn't really deliver novel alternatives for R&D funding- same old gov't $$ arguments.

1:39:15 PM: If you'd like to follow the Summit live you can at #oss2010 (Thx to Lisa Green, Creative Commons @boudicca for link)

1:48:19 PM: Next session is called 'Cure Entrepreneurs': first speaker is Scott Johnson, prez of Myelin Repair Foundation.

1:52:03 PM: RT @mrgunn: Patient activism session up now. These folks tend to be passionate, so tune in now. #oss2010

1:54:46 PM: Johnson is describing the gap that exists between basic academic research, and research in pharma that leads to medications.

1:58:33 PM: Johnson sees nonprofits like Myelin Found. as a shepherd-herd molecules through R&D through the approval process.

2:04:34 PM: Myelin Foundation currently funding ~45 scientists. Universities own any patents, foundation has exclusive development rights.

2:06:22 PM: Johnson says it's hard to get federal funding for developing tools and models for myelin repair research. Really? #oss2010

2:08:54 PM: Johnson-1st patent from these efforts awarded in 2008. A partnership with a pharma company (unnamed) has also been initiated.

2:11:40 PM: Myelin repair drugs would treat multiple sclerosis: read @lisamjarvis #CENews story on race to new MS drugs #oss2010

2:14:18 PM: Next: Craig Benson, founder of foundation to accelerate treatments for Batten Disease, rare neurodegenerative disease

2:19:38 PM: Among Beyond Batten's goals: developing accessible screens to test for carriers of orphan diseases like Batten

2:21:09 PM: Benson has a daughter with Batten Disease. Johnson has multiple sclerosis.

2:28:01 PM: Benson-Foundation dev'd a universal carrier screening test for 450 orphan diseases for under $500. Product launch planned for 2011 #oss2010

2:34:12 PM: More details on Benson and Beyond Batten in a Mar.2010 Bio-IT World article: #oss2010

2:37:50 PM: Now Beth Anne Baber, cancer bio researcher, mom of pediatric cancer patient, cofounder of ped. cancer foundation

2:41:36 PM: Conor Institute Model: ID industry partner(s), foundation provides human capital in onsite labs. Multiple partners in different expertises

2:43:28 PM: Conor inst's Partners so far: Prognosys BioSc, AltheaDx, CollabRx

3:13:46 PM: We're breaking for lunch now- will start up again in about 1/2 hour.

4:04:22 PM: Back from lunch. There was some discussion there about how open the morning sessions truly were, if connected to a patent model.

4:13:21 PM: schedule change: Instead of J. Izant of Sage Bionetworks, Nick Shockey @R2RC, Right to Research Coalition speaking on open access journals.

4:19:02 PM: Joerg Kurt Wegner (@joergkurtwegner), a scientist at Tibotec, asked me "What was the conclusion, if any, of the linkage to a patent system?"

4:20:32 PM: I told him I don't think a consensus was reached- the companies seem to want patents to ensure ability to commercialize.

4:21:36 PM: More than a few of the speakers at the conference yesterday were arguing the opposite. Surprised this hasn't come up more in Q&A's.

4:29:58 PM: Jonathan Izant of Sage Bionetworks @sagebio now speaking.

4:31:43 PM: Sage is a nonprofit that wants to build an open-source spot where scientists can share genomic data to better understand disease biology.

4:33:17 PM: Here's some coverage of Sage at WSJ and Xconomy #oss2010

4:43:32 PM: Izant's talking about challenges- developing data standards and accessible data formats, obstacles to sharing data btw academic labs

4:46:43 PM: Barry Bunin, CEO of Collaborative Drug Discovery and PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley, is next.

4:49:08 PM: Bunin-CDD wants to offer a few paths- let companies be open when they want to be open-and share data in a closed fashion at other times

4:53:13 PM: Bunin opens w/case study- collaborative effort that revealed known, approved drugs that reverse resistance to malaria drug chloroquine

4:55:33 PM: Bunin- CDD started largely academic but now is ~50-50 academe-industry: list of who benefits here: #oss2010

5:02:12 PM: More players in pharma's neglected-disease data sharing: EuropeanBioinformatics Institute, Nat'l Lib Med, MMV #oss2010

5:09:02 PM: Now Andrew Hessel, founder of Pink Army, on bringing the open source development model to breast cancer R&D

5:18:07 PM: Hessel's contrasting combating bacteria-with great evolutionary distance: vs combating cancer:small evo distance #oss2010

5:21:11 PM: Hessel- we need more specific approaches. I say-what about all the cool stuff going on with sugar metabolism? #oss2010

5:40:45 PM: Q&A w/Bunin, Izant, and Hessel has begun: audience member says citing, giving credit w/in open drug development is key

5:49:15 PM: Hessel is getting questions about Pink army's goal- 1 drug to 1 patient.

5:52:12 PM: Asked if the regulatory environment is changing to allow such a thing to take place. Short answer seems to be not yet.

5:57:44 PM: That concludes the portion of the program on open science and drug discovery. I'll still be tweeting but I'll be signing off liveblog now.

Author: Carmen Drahl

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  1. Hey CJ- thanks for bringing this editorial to my attention. I’d say that Saturday’s events largely meshed with the ideas mentioned in the editorial, but I think there were multiple camps in attendance and not everyone at the conference would agree with its contents. The prize-based funding models in the editorial were certainly covered on Saturday morning (like the Health Impact Fund). And a lot of what the patient advocacy groups like the Myelin Foundation are trying to do is build the kinds of hubs this article speaks about- bringing together experts from different companies at different stages of the process.

    But a few folks at the conference were talking about whether closed collaborative tools for pharma companies could really be called open science. And some speakers in Friday’s sessions questioned the value of patents as drivers of commercialization. This conference brought together an interesting mix of people- from an FBI special agent to an audience member whose libertarian views made it anathema for citizen-funded science groups to accept any government funding whatsoever. In a group like that there are bound to be disagreements.

    I would’ve liked to see more discussion about how the regulatory sphere could help foster more openness and collaboration in drug development.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  2. Wow — thanks, Carmen, that’s really helpful.

    Between the recent posts on Mat Todd’s work on “In the Pipeline” and this post, I have more confidence that there might be some substance to this concept.

  3. Todd is also working on crowdsourcing the production of photos and videos for first-year lab instruction. The first semester wasn’t super successful in terms of takeup among the freshmen (it was a voluntary thing) but he was hopeful that by getting TA’s more involved they might get more videos next year.