Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source an Answer?

PLOS Medicine, Vol. 1, p. 183, 2004

Duke Science, Technology & Innovation Paper No. 4

Posted: 6 Apr 2005

See all articles by Stephen M. Maurer

Stephen M. Maurer

University of California, Berkeley

Arti K. Rai

Duke University School of Law; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Andrej Sali

UC, San Francisco - Dept. of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry; UCSF, California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research

Abstract

Only about 1% of newly developed drugs are for tropical diseases, such as African sleeping sickness and dengue fever. While patent incentives and commercial pharmaceutical companies have made Western health care the envy of the world, the commercial model works only if companies can sell enough patented products to cover their R&D costs. The model thus fails for diseases found largely in the developing world, where markets for patented products are tiny. Any solution to the problem of tropical diseases must recognize the need for rigid cost-containment. An open source approach to identifying promising drug candidates would keep costs down by relying on volunteer scientific labor, low-cost or donated computational resources, competitive bidding for development, and competitive production.

Keywords: open source, neglected disease, patent

Suggested Citation

Maurer, Stephen M. and Rai, Arti Kaur and Sali, Andrej, Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source an Answer?. PLOS Medicine, Vol. 1, p. 183, 2004, Duke Science, Technology & Innovation Paper No. 4, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=699821

Stephen M. Maurer (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Arti Kaur Rai

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Andrej Sali

UC, San Francisco - Dept. of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry ( email )

600 16th Street, Suite N472D
Mission Bay Genentech Hall
San Francisco, CA 94143-0446
United States
415-514-4227 (Phone)
415-514-4231 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://salilab.org

UCSF, California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research

San Francisco, CA 94107
United States

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