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.’

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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

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

 

OneOncology’s online sales with reverse auctions in Cancer Medications

A new cancer-drug distribution system that aims to cut drug costs for community oncology practices around the country is being launched by OneOncology Inc., of Orlando, Fla., which started its Web-based system

In a challenge to the status quo of the drug-distribution business, OneOncology plans to conduct periodic online “reverse auctions.” Wholesale-drug distributors would bid on the opportunity to fill product orders pooled from hundreds of community oncology clinics around the country. OneOncology thinks this will give smaller clinics access to lower prices than they get now, according to Chief Executive
Steven Kirchof. Under the current system, small practices typically have longstanding relationships with distributors.
“It threatens the existing status quo for companies like Oncology Supply,” said Kirchof, a former executive with International Business Machines Corp.’s ( IBM) healthcare unit. “I believe that most of the distributors will come and play, and probably play very aggressively.”

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