more info about DrugDiscovery@home ?

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GregTippitt

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Message 4624 - Posted: 21 Jan 2017, 10:54:12 UTC

I am sorry if this question is a bit off topic for this forum, but I cannot post a new message in any of the other forums for this project because I don't yet have any credit for the project.

I am a long time cruncher for several other BOINC projects, including the original pre-BOINC SETI@Home. I am considering adding DrugDiscovery@Home to the projects for which I crunch numbers.

I was reading on the project's webpage to try to find out more information, because I prefer to contribute to projects whose research results will be published into the public domain to advance science, and I don't want to spend my electricity dollars working on a project that only benefits "for profit" institutions that will keep their findings private or patented for their own financial gain.

Unlike other most other BOINC projects that are run by faculty researchers at Universities, I could not find any information on this project's website regarding who is running the research, other than a for-profit company called "Digital BioPharm Ltd". While the general idea of find new drugs to treat illness is admirable sounding and caught my interest, I became somewhat skeptical because of the numerous mentions to a BitCoin type e-currency the group wants to start.

I am perhaps old fashioned, but e-currencies strike me as a waste of electricity at best and a convenient method of money laundering for criminals and terrorist at worst. Other than their own website for Digital BioPharm Ltd and the BOINC website for DrugDiscovery@Home, I cannot find any information of these, other than that their UK address has been used in the past by numerous firms that have been closed because of their fraudulent business practices. When I search for information about the people involved, much of their work in the past seems more concerned with creating new crypto-currency schemes and cosmetics rather than any drugs to cure disease.

I hope that I am terribly misinformed, because I would hate to see BOINC volunteers being duped. I would deeply appreciate any information that anyone has about this project to shine a better light upon it. Other than things they have written themselves on their own website for Digital BioPharm Ltd and the BOINC website for DrugDiscovery@Home, I have not found anything written that is not suspicious sounding.


Thank you,
Greg
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Message 4634 - Posted: 21 Jan 2017, 15:47:05 UTC - in response to Message 4624.  

I am sorry if this question is a bit off topic for this forum, but I cannot post a new message in any of the other forums for this project because I don't yet have any credit for the project.

I am a long time cruncher for several other BOINC projects, including the original pre-BOINC SETI@Home. I am considering adding DrugDiscovery@Home to the projects for which I crunch numbers.

I was reading on the project's webpage to try to find out more information, because I prefer to contribute to projects whose research results will be published into the public domain to advance science, and I don't want to spend my electricity dollars working on a project that only benefits "for profit" institutions that will keep their findings private or patented for their own financial gain.

Unlike other most other BOINC projects that are run by faculty researchers at Universities, I could not find any information on this project's website regarding who is running the research, other than a for-profit company called "Digital BioPharm Ltd". While the general idea of find new drugs to treat illness is admirable sounding and caught my interest, I became somewhat skeptical because of the numerous mentions to a BitCoin type e-currency the group wants to start.

I am perhaps old fashioned, but e-currencies strike me as a waste of electricity at best and a convenient method of money laundering for criminals and terrorist at worst. Other than their own website for Digital BioPharm Ltd and the BOINC website for DrugDiscovery@Home, I cannot find any information of these, other than that their UK address has been used in the past by numerous firms that have been closed because of their fraudulent business practices. When I search for information about the people involved, much of their work in the past seems more concerned with creating new crypto-currency schemes and cosmetics rather than any drugs to cure disease.

I hope that I am terribly misinformed, because I would hate to see BOINC volunteers being duped. I would deeply appreciate any information that anyone has about this project to shine a better light upon it. Other than things they have written themselves on their own website for Digital BioPharm Ltd and the BOINC website for DrugDiscovery@Home, I have not found anything written that is not suspicious sounding.


Thank you,
Greg



Dear Greg, my name is Andrey Voronkov. I am mostly in silico drug discovery specialist (and partially IT computing architectures as well). My experience is closely related to academic research. I have graduated Moscow State University, department of Chemistry, Russian Federation. As postdoc I was working at Oslo University Hospital. The topic was development of anti-cancer drugs for cancer stem cells. We collaborated with two major big pharma companies - Novo Nordisk and Genentech. The corresponding research was published in the journal with good rankings. During my work I realized (which was supported by opinion of my colleagues, including supervisor), that at least for drug development and new medical therapies development, the academic environment is far from being well suitable and supportive. So that was one of the reasons of the desire to make commercial project.
Another reason is that making a new drug is tedious and expensive process. Even big pharma has started to get united now in order to reduce costs of R&D, also public-private interaction is ongoing there actively. So, raising funding for clinical trials of non-patented drug is very challenging.
Therefore in order for drug development to be successful it should be commercial (or at least it gets much more chances to be successful). It s possible to mention a number of drugs, which died before reaching the patients because of intellectual property problems or/and have serious problems to raise funds for clinical trials now (most recent example - metformin clinical trials). Sales of intellectual property also gives funds for the further research.
Currently I am researcher in Moscow State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, but overall coupling DrugDiscovery@home to non-commercial academic organization means to burry development of new medicines under bureaucracy.
As to blockchain and crypto currency. The previous version of DrugDiscovery@home died because of the absence of funding (btw as I understand this is the general problem now for BOINC overall). Current team also works for free and this may not last forever. Therefore we want to couple DrugDiscovery@home with crypto currency. This is version of crowd-funding. Basically any project can make own currency now.
This currency can be used to raise funds for the project.
For example let s say we want raise 1 000 000 usd to hire professionals to our project.
Then we say that we want to issue 1 token (Drug Discovery Token) and sell them by the price 10 DDT = 1 ETH. 1 ETH is crypto currency, which has value of 10 USD now.
Then we sell 100 000 Drug Discovery Tokens and raise let´s say 1 000 000 USD.
But why should anyone help us and give us funds in exchange to some virtual token?
We give a promise and sign a public document that all funds, which we are going to get from any services and IP sales will be converted to Drug Discovery Tokens. This will make investors interested.
As to compensation for DrugDiscovery@home crunchers (that part, which are doing this on non-volunteer basis especially) for computing power, we already got into GridCoin white list. So, if someone has financial motivation, you may check more information about GridCoin project and their white list.
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Message 4635 - Posted: 21 Jan 2017, 15:47:54 UTC - in response to Message 4634.  
Last modified: 21 Jan 2017, 15:48:04 UTC

Description of current research tasks you may find here:
https://boinc.drugdiscoveryathome.com/forum_thread.php?id=2050#4610
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GregTippitt

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Message 4641 - Posted: 22 Jan 2017, 1:23:16 UTC - in response to Message 4635.  

Thank you for your honest answer. I wish you good luck in your search for new drugs treatments, but I will be crunching for other projects. I realize that research environments are different in different countries, but I have strong beliefs that new breakthrough research is infinitely more valuable when the research findings are in the public domain. Since I have limited funds from which to pay for the electricity required for the number crunching my systems perform, I must direct my computer resources where I believe it is the most beneficial.

When a for-profit company discovers something new, they keep it secret for themselves and their own further development or sell it to another for-profit company that does the same. When new research results are released to the public domain, many researchers benefit from these breakthroughs. I feel very strongly that the reason we have not had any significant new antibiotics developed in recent decades, is because not enough research information is public. Ironically the conservation efforts to save the ill-tempered Tasmanian Devils, may yield one of the most promising new solutions for multi antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, as the Devil's milk contains chemicals that kill even the staph superbugs.

I think the human mind is much like many fruit tree that are not "self-fertile". Without the cross-pollination of ideas among scientists, liike the fruit trees, their yields are greatly diminished. I feel the most promising use of computer power in the search for disease treatments, is that these research projects have the potential to guide pharmaceutical researchers in both the private and public sector, through the publishing of findings that many other researchers everywhere can use.

BOINC works because millions of computers are working on these problems. As a friendly competition with others, some BOINC volunteers have a strong interest in the work unit credit they receive, but most of us are only interested in the work unit credit as a means to measuring the performance and speed of our systems. Given the cost of electrical power to run systems, I don't think most BOINC volunteers will be very interested in your offer of yet another new and novel cryto-currency.

I hope I am wrong, and you discover cures for cancer, malaria, and old age. I'm generally a pessimist, so I'm glad when I'm wrong.

Greg
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Message 4643 - Posted: 22 Jan 2017, 2:28:34 UTC - in response to Message 4641.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2017, 14:52:07 UTC

I agree with you.
I'm BOINC admin and developer since... many years, but I was always aware about commercial projects... Now, I'm inside on one of them...
What I can say? We all see future and test our visions :)

Anyway, thank you for your opinion... It's valuable even if I don't agree...
Krzysztof 'krzyszp' Piszczek

Member of Radioactive@Home project team and Universe@Home admin.
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