Giving Compass' Take:

• Brian W. Simpson describes how the Open Pharma approach can create new treatments for diseases, like mycetoma, that are not addressed thanks to a lack of market incentives.

• How can funders help close the treatment gap for neglected diseases? 

• Find how market incentives are creating the wrong vaccines

One reason neglected diseases like mycetoma are so neglected: The lack of market incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs.

A new project targeting the flesh-eating, bone-destroying disease mycetoma throws out the traditional market-driven approach and opens the discovery process to scientists worldwide. Launched by the University of Sydney, Erasmus MC, and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the MycetOS (Mycetoma Open Source) projectrelies on an Open Pharma approach to “discover compounds that could lead to new treatments for patients suffering from fungal mycetoma (eumycetoma), a devastating disease for which current treatments are ineffective, expensive, and toxic.”

Tossing out the Big Pharma model of closed research and steeply priced drugs that recover the R&D costs, MycetOS leads drug discovery efforts through “community-driven, in-kind scientific contributions and a robust, fully transparent online presence,” say the organizers. Ideas and testing results will be open and shared in real time via an open-access database.

Simultaneous with the launch, the project announced encouraging results from its efforts to screen 800 compounds for potential drugs targeting eumycetoma.

Read the full article about an open pharma approach by Brian W. Simpson at Global Health NOW.