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Mar
30

Part 2 of ACS blog..why are software companies doing drug discovery for neglected diseases? and will we get a gold standard database?

Here goes the second half of my trip to the ACS in San Diego. This past Wednesday I gave a presentation (coauthored by Antony Williams) loosely based on the book we published last year around collaborative software for biomedical R&D. Then in the afternoon I gave a talk based on the CDD-SRI collaboration on tuberculosis. I also disclosed some recent research using machine learning models to select compounds active against whole cell TB for 3 different labs. This included some GSK malaria actives which showed excellent activity against whole cell TB. Interestingly in the same session 2 other software companies described their lwork on malaria drug discovery (Simulations plus and Scynexis) using computational approaches. There were no pharma companies presenting in our session. What does it say about the situation for neglected disease research when software companies are left to try to discover potential drugs? Simulations plus seem to be self  funding their research and my guess is as a marketing tool as they see others doing the same and getting publicity for working on neglected diseases. Scynexis are funded by MMV etc for their malaria work although it appeared that they were shifting to look at open source tools for modeling data. So perhaps I should point out, should there be more collaboration between groups? Otherwise there will be opportunities for more to rediscover past discoveries of others.

Thursday was the the last day of the conference and surprisingly CINF had a very well attended session. Antony Williams and I gave talks in this session. For the first time I gave a presentation that described my quest and motivations for a gold standard molecule database. It makes for an interesting story which is still is relevant nearly a year later.

Well it was a busy conference and I tried to tweet live in the sessions I attended. 6 talks was probably a bit more of a challenge ! However I do feel very comfortable using the iPad to give them (which I tried in 5 of 6 cases). It was great to see friends and collaborators from all over the world and of course my thanks go out to those in the session I co chaired on Sunday..

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