In cases where a company owns the patent on an orphan drug, Tour said Cure for Needy could act as a conduit for a potential manufacturer to obtain permission to make it from the patent-holding company.
The project came about when Tour, inspired by Thomas Friedman's book "The World is Flat," challenged his "Wild Topics in Chemistry and Nanotechnology" class to set the hive mind to work on a way to get proven medications to those in need.
The site initially lists four neglected tropical diseases and 30 medical conditions that could be treated by what the FDA considers to be orphan drugs.
"They're not the blockbuster drugs that give the major pharmaceutical companies so much of their revenue," said Rice sophomore Erin Walsh, project coordinator and one of dozens of students who worked on Cure for Needy. "We're trying to make those drugs they don't necessarily target because there's not a profitable revenue model."
Thomson Reuters, a global business information company, has jumped behind Cure for Needy by providing relevant synthesis schemes from its integrated drug discovery and development portal, Prous Science Integrity. "We are pleased to support the work of the Cure for Needy initiative," said Josep Prous Jr., vice president and chief scientific officer of the company's health care and science division. "The provision of a central repository for orphan drugs' synthesis schemes will drive forward innovation in an essential but underrepresented area of research and development."
Walsh said chemists who register with Cure for Needy have access to the targeted drug pages. Submitting an idea creates a page where others can critique and refine the work.
Ultimately, the Rice team led by Walsh, webmaster Zach Strickland, Nazima Zakhid
|Contact: David Ruth|