Oracle starts the Oracle Health Sciences Institute (OHSI), in partnership with Sun Labs

The Institute is focused on research that will accelerate IT innovation to advance personalized medicine and the delivery of safe and effective   treatments and health care services to patients around the globe. OHSI will work in tandem with academic research centers, focusing on a targeted set of research areas fundamental to the R&D and health care delivery challenges facing health sciences organizations today. Research priorities currently include: artificial intelligence and semantic technology; genomic, genetic and phenotypic data analysis; data mining to support optimization of clinical trials; and predictive algorithms and other technology to advance patient safety and provide advanced decision support at the point of care.Academic institutions interested in collaborating with OHSI in these focus areas should contact OHSI representatives at Oracle http://linkd.in/bXf98c
Oracle starts Oracle Health Sciences Institute (OHSI), in partnership with Sun Labs. This is exiting news and I hope we get to see the participation of Open Source Drug Development Network (OSDD) and initiative by CSIR India earlier supported by Sun Microsystems

Shorter Path to drug Discovery share research on failed compounds between companies the new MIT lead approach-

The moment I learned about this new project started by MIT, I could think of only one thing, I want to be part of it.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have, started a pharmaceutical innovation program  to help drug companies adapt some successful approaches now used in aeronautics, like lean management and information-sharing among rivals.

The M.I.T. initiative, called NEW Drug Development ParadIGmS or NEWDIGs has garnered the support of

  • Aetna
  • Bayer Healthcare
  • Brookings Institution
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Medco Health Solutions Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Quintiles Transnational Corp.
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  • WellPoint Inc.

One short-term goal is to identify, and rectify, the root causes of bottlenecks in the existing system. Longer term, the ambition is to create new prediction models, new ways to share information about the biology of diseases, and a new inclusiveness involving earlier participation of regulators, health insurers, health care providers and patients.

So How do they plan to change the way we conduct drug discovery and developement?

1.  share information about compounds they have tried and shelved, for reasons like toxicity or inefficacy.

Results of clinical trials are availale online for free, whether or not they succeed. But no pharma company talks about projects that fail at an earlier stage. A result is that companiesother  waste many millions going down experimental paths that their competitors have already tried and failed.

A visual Path of the changes suggested in the Enterprise Transformation is shows here , the document can be downloaded from the MIT website

Succeeding at open-source innovation: An interview with Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker and the USD $34 million Indian Government plan for Opensource Drug Development

Benjamin Franklin said “As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.” – Any one listening !

Leaders and veterans in Biotechnology and Health care research industry may not be welcoming open source ideals. But IT industry has set new benchmarks and proved that open source brings in much needed new ideas and innovation. So hear out loud from none other than chairman and former CEO of Mozilla. The article is published for free at the Mckinsey quarterly

Mitchell comments that Mozilla’s real contribution isn’t just the browser but the model of participation.

In 2005 annual report on Association of American Medical Colleges acknowledged that industry, academic and government researchers can and must work together to remove scientific hurdles in drug development.

For hte uninitaited a look at the article published in Nature Magazine in 2006 with help from Pharma major Eli Lilly-Open source R&D and collaborative drug discovery and other related blogs  MnDoci FuturePundit

And don’t think these are just rants of an overenthusiastic researchers, who doesn’t know the dynamics of business, why because Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in, India unveiled a USD $34 million plan for Open Source Drug Discovery. CSIR is one of the world’s largest publicly funded R&D organisations 38 laboratories working on a range of subjects from molecular biology to road research to Himalayan bio-resources. The Council has more than 4,000 scientists working for it at these 38 labs.

The January 18 2008 meeting in NewDelhi in India was organized by Knowledge Commons, Delhi Science Forum, IIT Delhi, Red Hat and Sun on Free and Open Source model of knowledge. The highlight of the event was opensource drug development — make sure you read the Opensource India blog by Venkatesh

CSIR’s chief Sameer K. Brahmachari says, he looks for “taare zameen par” (stars on earth, a reference to one of Bollywood’s latest blockbusters), in large numbers

OSDD has the support of Sun Microsystems Inc. Hewlett-Packard, IIT Delhi, Red Hat and Indian corporate houses like TCG Life Sciences.

Related Topics Video: open source drug discovery for neglected diseases from google tech talks , Articles: The Ecconomist -An open-source shot in the arm


If you still think open source has no place in biotechnology and life science its not likely that you would listen to Alexander Graham Bell

Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than myself.’

George Bush Sings Glory to Open Source

The truth behind the new bill signed into law by President Bush on 26 December 2007, which states that the findings of NIH-funded research must be made freely available to the public within one year of publication.

But all is not Hunky dory , as more obvious once you go through the complete text of the LAW as published in Government website

And it clearly states that copyright law takes precedence over deposition into PubMed Central.

What does that mean, when you publish a research paper it usually belongs to the University or the institution that funded the project. ie if you did sign a copyright transfer agreement with your publisher or sponsor of your funding he can deny the article being published in open source website or journal.

The only surprise is that in future based on the new Law the Director of NIH can prevent publication by grant recipients in journals that don’t allow publications of articles into PubMed Central. Aha now thats not good news for scientists and many are not going to welcome it either

But how many would care NIH is not the lone sponsor of grants, and yes certainly none from healthcare/pharma companies would allow their articles be published at open source journals. that questions how helpful the law would become

But certainly Many Many thanks and Happy New Year to  SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access  for making the first step, and it sure is a big one

There is certainly going to evoke multiple responses from everyone, wired magazine says its bad news for the science publishing industry, who’ve rallied against initiatives such as PRISM, and other open source websites such as PLOS, to preserve the right of journal publishers to charge for access to federally-funded findings. that means they will find their ways

Am certainly one of those not so politically obsessed persons, and I dont know that many politically savvy lab rats. may be few of those working in stem cell research, cloning or any other controversial topics might be. but I am beginning to like Dubya more. Not a bad a move for someone more associated bad grammar

free web-based LIMS (Laboratory Information Management) System and ELN for Science Research

Your Lab Data is a free web-based LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), aimed at a typical small molecular biology laboratory. It allows users to manage their chemicals, fridges, freezers, boxes, strains, plasmids or glycerol’s, oligos / primers and much more.

Register

Online Drug Discovery Database Launch

Assay Depot is claiming to become an on-demand” drug discovery services. The company is has launched Internet marketplace for the pharmaceutical services industry. By acting as a single point of contact between drug researchers and research service providers, the Assay Depot dramatically improves the efficiency of drug discovery research and, ultimately, helps deliver better and safer drugs to market. By bringing the true benefits of outsourcing to the pharmaceutical industry

The San Diego company has raised $ 1.8M of funding from private finanical firms. CEO Kevin Lustig has also been the Co-Founder and Research Direcotr at Kalypsys

Microsoft launches Personal Healthcare Intiative -conversation with Peter Neupert VP of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group about HealthVault

After Google announced the personal genomics and healthcare library intitaitves it is now the turn of Microsoft offering free personal health records on the Web

Microsoft announced HealthVault, an online platform where personal electronic health records can be stored.

The company’s consumer health offering includes a personal health record, as well as Internet search tailored for health queries, under the name Microsoft HealthVault www.healthvault.com

The organizations that have signed up for HealthVault projects with Microsoft include the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and MedStar Health,

Take a look at the  conversation with Peter Neupert VP of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group about HealthVault  from the Channel9 MSDN

Scholarly publishers throws out Microsoft

After PLOS nature its the turn of microsoft, Life science researchers are in no mood to relent to industry’s interests.

Microsoft’s latest Word release has caused chaos in scholarly publishing circles. Submit a paper to, the journal Nature in Word 2007, and you will face the following warning:

We currently cannot accept files saved in Microsoft Office 2007 formats. Equations and special characters cannot be edited and are incompatible with Nature’s own editing and typesetting programs.’

And it’s not just Nature. Try Science, The Lancet and pretty much any ‘mathematics-intensive’ journal in the world and you will hit the same problem

Science and Nature will no longer accept manuscripts written in Microsoft’s Office 2007 suite. because the latest version of Word is no longer compatible with Mathematical Markup Language (MathML), the de facto standard for writing equations in text documents, according to recent notices posted on the Web sites of both Science and Nature journals. In Office 2007, Microsoft’s own Office MathML (OMML) is used for equations.

And it doesnt end there Microsoft and Sun and open world society are up in arms against each other on adoption of Open Source Document Format. Microsoft supports OOXML and Sun supports ODF (Open Document Format alliance)  which also is enjoying widespread support from academia and corporates like Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Google

India’s  21-member technical committee decided that India will vote a ‘no’ against Microsoft’s Open Office Extensible Mark Up Language (OOXML) standard at the International Standards Organisation (ISO) in Geneva on September 2.

Laying with the Lions

The following article is one of the best I just came across which talkes about advantages of better collaboration in pharma companies.

 

The study and articles are on Act Magazine website

 

Growing like IT companies- can Biotech do the magic

Information technologies have significantly contributed to the evolution of work over the last fifty years. At first, IT was primarily applied to automate back office, highly repetitive and fairly standardized tasks, such as financial transactions, payroll, and inventory management.

Customer self-service was arguably the commercial killer-app of the Web in the ’90s. Now giving way to SOA and web collaboration technology, and the SaaS

So where does that put the pharma and biotech industry, we are not so famous for collaboration within the industry. The blatant patent wars and the triumphs to outdo the competitor by developing better and blockbuster drugs have certainly not contributed much to the developemnt of Drug industry in ways that supported the end users/customers. Infact the majority of the big inventions in the last 25 years were borne out of intelligent observations rather than from technological marvels, most of them were the bi product or came across as a lightning discovery during some other research projects.

That role is changing atleast now IT is looked upon and using it to drive business innovation. The involvement is present at every department, from Collaborative drug designing, Online Data sharing, ERP, CRM, use of enterprise systems in clinical research and post launch studies and Business intelligence

Better adoption of IT can dramatically improve the efficiency of and drive business innovation  even using internet to speedup clinical research

Its interesting to learn about Conformia a company that claims to do so by Product performance and life cycle managemnet software for pharmaceutical product development industry and people seem to take attention -SAP an Enterprise application provider has mae investment in joint collaboration with conformia

Perhaps it time we see some major investment and IT helping Pharma companies in post product launch studies, to this date pharma companies do not have enough access to pefroamce data of the drugs present in the market , since hopsitlas and GPs will not like to part with data. Perhaps cost effective IT services might help in avoiding vioxx like incidents by giving pharma companies access to patient data,

Such improvements can only cement the future of genomics /personnal medicine such as samller steps are taken in this direction such as the  Large-Scale Medical Sequencing Clinical Research 

Microsoft accelerates free access to journals

Information technology company Microsoft will give technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, thats when most of the publishers of scientific journals are fighting against Open Access journals. Take a look at the blog  on the subject by  Greg at nodalpoint

Announced at a meeting in Washington in July Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities met to officially extend their free access to peer-reviewed journals for many developing world scientists to 2015, in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Microsoft will provide new software called the Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 (formally Whale) that will meet increased demand for access to heavily trafficked portals and perform at the standards of today’s most heavily trafficked websites. The system will also enhance security through authentication of users when they log on.

The website that benefit includes open access websites such as   HINARI  Cochrane Library   AGORA and Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE),  

Collaborative Drug Discovery

Collaborative Drug Discovery Releases Next Generation Database for Both Private Collaborations and Public Open Access

Collaborative Drug Discovery enables scientists to archive, mine, and collaborate to more effectively develop new drug candidates for commercial and humanitarian markets.

 The technology enables novel community-based research efforts that become more and more useful as additional participants contribute data. Publicly available data sets currently in the system include the FDA orphan and approved drugs and small molecule drug discovery data dating back over half a century. These data sets pertain to a diverse group of neglected diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, African Sleeping Sickness, Chagas Disease and Leishmania.

From science to business

It takes upto to 15 years and multimillion  dollar investments  to patent and market one successful drug for pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Trying to make the sure that the scientists receive the best R&D support possible companies have looked at outsourcing and insourcing and everything else.

And the new boy in the buzz world is “crowdsourcing” claiming businesses a way to tap into a larger, global community of scientists and R&D exeutives.

Crowdsourcing is a business model in which a company or institution takes a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsources it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call over the Internet. The work is compensated with little or no pay in most cases. However, in a few examples the labor is well-compensated .

Did that made sense it sounds like open source in biotech fields. but hold on your horses, it not that straight forward, remember Nature has published an article about open source in drug discover industry some time back, there is big list of things that makes it a difficult project.

But there is one company that has pulled it off successfully set up by drug giant Eli Lilly in 2001, for its projects Innocentive is one such crowdsourcer, So far, chemicals and life sciences have been the main users of crowdsourcers, offering rewards of up to $1m if they are successful. There are other places , such as Nine Sigma and Yet2.com and Scienteur, offer similar models.

Another firm Procter & Gamble P&G also works with Nine Sigma , YourEncore andYet2.com and Innocentive

Boeing , Dow Chemical , Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble , Solvay are number of companies that have benefited fro this model ,

IT industry has grown to this level because people were willing to share data and collaborate , ofcourse there is much difference between IT and biological industry . But will scientists from life science industry would do it- So far the answer is No- may in future they might be more open to such needs

Read Related studies Further at
The Value of Openness in Scientific Problem Solving

Can open-source R&D reinvigorate drug research a nature Review

Previous Blogs

Open source in Biotechnology

Online data Sharing for scientists – Will they accept it

Data sharing policies at 10 journals- blog of the week

Heather Piwowar  blogging at ReseacrhRemix made a post on Data sharing policies at 10 selected journals.  general science (Nature and Science), medicine (JAMA and NEJM), oncology (JCO and Cancer), genetics (Human Molecular Genetics and PLoS Computational Biology), and bioinformatics (Bioinformatics and BMC Bioinformatics). she has published a spreadsheet comparing the results at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pdheCmaT42j62B-a7sx0BRA

DNA DATABASE TO HELP IDENTIFY DISAPPEARED

(May 23, 2007) The head of Chile’s Medical Legal Service (SML), Patricio Bustos, announced this week that his organization would create a DNA database that will be used to help identify the remains of those who were disappeared and murdered during the military regime led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Source Santigao times

Open source and Biology Are we there yet?

one of the lines I heard in past was that scientists had shunned wikis, tagging, and social networks that may be true to some extent .Even the mighty nature network which is read by thousands had a hard time attracting scientists and making sure that they keep the blog at pace. Blogging may be too early in the scene coupled with many other issues that bog the idea such as identity authneticity of the information and content et al. But what is causing the lethargy towards open access and peer review database and websites.

Beginning from March 2007 Nature Biotechnology is recommending that raw data from proteomics and molecular-interaction experiments be deposited in a public database before manuscript submission. There are many articles about the power of citation from open access database and peer reviewd articles. Still the number of top research papers appearing in these websites does seem to support the enthusiasm shared by everyone.

I came across a very good blog about how the Open access amplify a whole university’s research impact chek out the blog by Peter Suber The Open access News blog    The research Informatio network team blog from UK also publishes some of the best work in this subject chek RIN blog

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