Breaking Good - open source drug discovery and science communication
Alice Motion – University of Sydney. Australia
The Open Source Malaria (OSM) consortium has been pioneering open source drug discovery since 2011. The aim of the project is to find a small molecule that is effective for the treatment of malaria using open science principles. All experiments are published on the Internet in electronic lab notebooks, all data are available for anyone to use and there will be no patents.
One of the many advantages of this open approach is that barriers to participation are much lower than for traditional drug discovery projects. This has enabled the development of a chemical education and citizen science project, Breaking Good, whereby undergraduates and even high school students can take part in a real research project and synthesise new drug targets.
Over the past five years, undergraduates in the USA, UK and Australia have all worked on the synthesis of novel antimalarials and some of the molecules made show promising activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Additionally, a class at a local high school have contributed to OSM and in 2016, they synthesised the price-hiked toxoplasmosis medicine, Daraprim, in their high school laboratory.
In this paper, Dr Alice Motion will describe the impact of widening participation in research to realise research for all and opening up conversations about access to medicine through the involvement of non-experts in the discovery of new medicines.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.