India's Open Source Experiment Short on Funds, Talent

April 9, 2014

April 9, 2014 | The Ministry of Science and Technology in India did not clear the cabinet note meant to extend funding for the Open Source Drug Discovery project before the close of the financial year, the Times of India reported at the beginning of April. But today, in a Forbes India feature, there's no mention of the OSDD's lack of funding. Instead the program is soldiering on while facing a serious talent shortage. 

Launched in 2008, OSDD built an open-source platform for both computational and experimental technologies to make drug discovery for infectious and neglected diseases cost effective and affordable to the people of the developing world. It was a model that garnered international attention. 
The program first focused on tuberculosis research and succeeded in annotating the tuberculosis genome, but drew global criticism by publishing its Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome online instead of in a peer-reviewed journal. The group rallied by publishing the M. tuberculosis proteome in PLoS One in 2011 (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027044), and has published in the open access journal since. 
The challenges now lie in late stage development, and "the lack of a critical mass of drug-discovery professionals in the Indian academic world is hampering progress," according to the Forbes feature. “Now, we need to bring international-level expertise, and some of it will cost money.”