The power of crowdsourced R&D
Drug R&D is still dogged by attrition, duplication and waste. Chas Bountra, chief scientist & head of the Structural Genomics Consortium at the University of Oxford, thinks the answer lies in opening up discoveries to everyone and collaborating at all levels.
Bountra is a veteran of life sciences, having worked at Oxford University in the mid-1980s before joining Glaxo and staying on as the company became GlaxoSmithKline. He returned to Oxford in 2008, where his work at the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) has been focused on coming up with new targets for drug discovery.
“We’re not interested in the targets that everybody else is working on,” he says. “We’re trying to open up completely new areas of biology. That’s where the big breakthroughs are going to come.”
Bountra says that one of the major challenges in drug development at the moment is the fact that many academics, biotech companies and pharma companies “are all working on the same few things”.