India challenges big pharma

Open Source Drug Discovery
India (New Delhi)

In New Delhi, Open Source Drug Discovery takes the shamefully inefficient and expensive hit rate quoted by the big pharmaceutical companies – and turns it on its head. Typically chemical and biological drugs have an average success rate of 5000:1, expense of $2.6 billion per drug and take 10-15 years to develop, but Prof. Samir K Brahmachari is optimising research and developments costs, without raising drug prices.

Launched on the three cardinal principals of Collaborate, Discover & Share, the scientist aims to provide affordable healthcare to the developing world by providing a global platform for drug discovery­ – bringing scientists, researchers, doctors, students and hospitals to work for a common cause: “The best minds can collaborate and collectively endeavour to solve the complex problems associated with discovering novel therapies for neglected tropical diseases like Tuberculosis, Malaria, Leishmaniasis etc.”

Open Source Drug Delivery replicates in healthcare the ‘open source’ model used in IT, such as Linux – the operating system that is developed collaboratively, sharing development costs for quicker innovation. By conducting early stage research – with the philosophy that many eyeballs makes the bug shallow – more biological, genetic and chemical information is made available. With over 7,900 participants from over 130 countries, the first target is tuberculosis (TB) as it’s one of the leading causes of death in developing nations, killing three Indians every two minutes. This will be followed by Malaria.

While the traditional players claim they can’t afford to make drugs for diseases that afflict the global poor, the drugs that come out of OSDD will be made available as a low cost generic drug. OSDD’s targeted and open source drug development, that’s done initially inside a computer rather than a petri dish, shows huge promise at a fraction of the cost.

OSDD was mapped by author and futurologist Mark Stevenson in his AtlasChart Top 5. Read his full FutureHero interview.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future, (10 November 2015)

Project leader

Prof. Samir K Brahmachari, Scientist and Founder Director

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