FEB 25, 2019 3:40 PM PST

Open-Science Model Advances Drug Discovery

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Parkinson’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is the latest push for Medicines 4 Neurodegenerative Diseases (M4ND Pharma) by academic scientists in Toronto in their promising pursuit for a new genetic drug that targets intractable nervous system disorders. Thanks to funding from the Krembil Foundation, M4ND Pharma will be the world's second drug discovery company dedicated to open science after Medicines 4 Kids (M4K Pharma). Similar to M4K Pharma, M4D will not seek patents on its findings but will instead rely on regulations regarding data exclusivity for the reasons of supporting the open science movement.

In open science, researchers can share resources and exchange knowledge without limitations due to patents and the peer review publishing process. The aim of open science is to advance scientific discovery—it was the same movement that garnered the Human Genome Project, and the non-profit Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).

"When we started M4K, many people thought an open approach to late-stage drug development might only be applicable to rare or neglected diseases, if at all," says Aled Edwards, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto and CEO of the SGC. "But we're getting unexpected funding and scientific contributions from industry, academic and clinical sources, and slowly but surely we're advancing a medicine through the pipeline. It's time to move the goal posts again on what's possible with open science."

Learn more about open science:

fordable medicines faster, but it's been incredibly challenging to make it happen because the system is complicated," says Edwards. "The key was to invent a different business model, and we're extraordinarily happy that industry, academia and others have been delighted to contribute."

Source: University of Toronto

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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