Patient Engagement, Data Liberation And Portability

Christine Årdal and John-Arne Røttingen | PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases | September 20, 2012

Open source drug discovery can be an influential model for discovering and developing new medicines and diagnostics for neglected diseases. It offers the opportunity to accelerate the discovery progress while keeping expenditures to a minimum by encouraging incremental contributions from volunteer scientists. Publishing raw data and results in the public domain is positive within the context of neglected diseases since it facilitates open collaboration while obviating the ability to patent any results. In this way it effectively de-links the research and development costs from the sales price of the end product, the new medicine or diagnostic.

This case study demonstrates that implementations of the open source model can differ while still achieving the ultimate goal of obtaining high quality research at reduced costs. However, the importance of clearly defined entry points, transparency and funding are shared success factors. These findings present the practical challenges of implementing a theoretical concept and hopefully will assist other scientists in organizing future open source drug discovery projects.