Open Source Pharma Foundation

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NGO to be based in Bengaluru, $3m over 3 years commitment from Tata Trusts, to complement Indian government connected Open Source Drug Discovery and other efforts. In 2014 and 2015 conferences were held under the name Open Source Pharma; doesn’t have info about the foundation yet. Seems like this could be a hugely important initiative, both for whatever additional resources it can bring to bear on diseases of poverty and for helping shift policy imagination from property to commons in one of the signal excuses for treating knowledge as property.

Excerpt from press release below:

In four words, Open Source Pharma is“affordable medicine for all.” In three words: “Linux for drugs.”

Open Source Pharma (OSP) is a concept inspired by the Linux model of operation. Adapted to tackling important public health challenges, it hopes to catalyze radical change in the way we do medical R&D and deliver better and more affordable innovation quicker and cheaper to patients. In brief, crowdsourced, computer-driven drug discovery; IT-enabled clinical trials with open data; and generics manufacture.

Jaykumar Menon, Convener, Open Source Pharma Foundation,said, “Our vision is to provide affordable medicine for all. We aim to support a growing open source pharma movement that includes existing initiatives to create a comprehensive and alternative open source pharmaceutical system driven by principles of openness, patient need, and affordability. It will systematically address bottlenecks in the pharmaceutical development pipeline by applying open source techniques wherever applicable. This covers all stages, from discovery to development, manufacturing, distribution, and use. Open Source Pharma bends the energies of the universe towards bugs that affect billions. With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.”

In India, the Open Source Pharma Foundation’s initial projects include India’s first Product Development Partnership (PDP), led by Dr Tanjore Balganesh, the former head of Astra Zeneca India, and will focus onthe rapid development of breakthrough medicines, including renewed efforts to develop effective therapies to roll back the tuberculosis epidemic, which kills nearly 1.5 million patients a year. Other activities include public outreach, education initiatives, and global crowdsourced science.

Some resources:

Tata Trusts support OSPF — the ‘Linux for drugs’ (2015-09-29, The Hindu)

Press release (pdf) from the Tata Trusts

25 minute presentation (2015-04) from OSPF convener Jaykumar Menon (very interesting human rights lawyer, needs a Wikipedia entry, as do the other founders, scientists Tanjore Balganesh and Matthew Todd and economist Bernard Munos). At about 15 minutes, Menon, noting that many pharma companies have participated in the two OSP conferences:

Why is big pharma on board? I’m not sure, this is a direct assault on the big pharma way of doing things. However, two things. One, we’re focusing on the neglected disease area so its no economic risk really. And the second is they themselves want to learn how to do this open stuff.

The overall vision is can we set up an alternative open source pharma enabled industry.

Coverage at SpicyIP

OSP on twitter

Wikidata item about OSPF

List of ways to improve drug discovery, development, and delivery independent of patents