Dr. Isaac Yonemoto is on a mission to crowdfund a patent-free cancer drug. He is the founder of IndySci, a platform for the Project Marilyn campaign that is using the open-source ideology to develop said drug.
“When software development was still new, people thought patents would be the only way to protect good ideas,” Yonemoto told the Times of San Diego. “But what we’re finding out, especially on the Android platform, is that open-source encourages communication and can lead to a superior, cost-effective product.”
The drug in question is 9DS and, through a NCI-60 study, researchers found it was most effective when used to treat kidney cancer, melanoma and triple negative breast cancer. The NCI-60 study puts the new drug up against 60 different cancer cells.
The current crowdfunding campaign has a goal of financing the initial mice study.
“Even if the xenograft study fails, we’ll have gained valuable information that might otherwise be kept secret if it were patented,” Yonemoto said. “In that case, researchers will know not to pursue the drug further.”
If the mice study goes well, 9DS will move into preclinical trials, most likely in collaboration with a for-profit company. Such research costs anywhere between $1 million and $10 million, so the funds will most likely not be crowd sourced.
However, since the drug does not have a patent, the price of the finished product is likely to remain lower than other drugs of its kind.
After completing Project Marilyn, IndySci will become a crowdfunding platform for Yonemoto's other projects and for other researchers.
Project Marilyn is currently accepting donations in the form of dollars or Bitcoins. Donors can also choose to have their funds contribute to non-animal research.