(Wednesday, 23rd May 2007)
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Drug discovery presents some of the hardest innovation problems facing society. This is particularly true in the developing world, where patients do not have enough money to cover R&D costs. Not surprisingly, conventional patent incentives have done almost nothing to combat tropical disease. I will discuss recent proposals to design new, non-patent incentives to fill this gap. Surprisingly, one proposal would organize on-line R&D teams modeled on the collaborations that produce "open source" software. I will describe one such collaboration and ask whether similar methods could improve drug discovery for rich nation diseases.
Bibliographical references :
Chapter 8, Innovation and Incentives (S. Scotchmer, MIT Press 2004).
S. Maurer. 2005. Choosing the Right Incentive Strategy for R&D in Neglected Diseases. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. May 2006 84(5).