GSK used a crowd-sourcing contest to try to identify new drug candidates for further study (translational work). They picked 8 winning projects from submitters in Canada, UK and US. Winning selections included efforts with antibiotics, malaria, metastatic cancers, Leishmaniasis, male fertility, regulation and iron-overload diseases.
Certainly, this is a novel approach for BIg Pharma to run an open competition of this sort. One of the big challenges is how to deal with the IP issues raised. In this case, some institutions decided (e.g. UCLA) decided not to participate as the IP terms were viewed to be outside their policies. GSK believe s the looser upfront definitions on IP help make the program work -- and they have tried to build in mechanisms whereby collabnorators can quit projects and walk away with some value to continue work on their own.
It remains to be seen whether GSK can turn any of these 8 projects into products/revenue, but they are encouraged enough so far to be already talkng about a second competition. The first did draw 142 entries, across 17 therapeutic areas and represented scientists from 70 institutons. So more than a few are certainly willing to play. We'll also have to see if any big IP blow ups happen on the back side of these projects but for now, all's quiet on that front. And efforts are being applied to making the 8 projects work. Maybe efforts like this will help keep GSK ranked number one as described in the previous post? See Fierce Biotech.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Nov 6th 2013.