Molecule: Pooling the pharma industry's resources

The new software platform from Linum Labs has been designed to crowdsource funding and research, in an effort to streamline innovation through a more open market

Innovation has often fallen victim to the secretive world of pharmaceuticals and biotech. Linum Labs, has introduced Molecule, a market platform aimed at pulling back the curtain and accelerating innovation in the industry with an open source initiative.

Molecule was designed to provide a platform for crowdsourcing funding and research, reducing risk for investors and IP creators while creating more diverse and inclusive treatments for patients and consumers.

Molecule works by connecting scientists, patients, and industry in order to advance drug development in a collaborative open market. By creating an open market for participants to crowdfund and discover promising therapeutics, it aims to solve core issues in the industry’s current business and innovation model.

Swiss-based Linum Labs AG, a software development studio that builds blockchain-based solutions, has used this knowledge to create Molecule. The company began development in early 2018 and intends to build out the platform as an open source industry initiative on behalf of the Molecule Foundation, a Swiss non-profit.

Innovation hurdles

“The pharmaceutical industry faces an innovation crisis caused by the challenges around drug development and the monopolisation of IP,” said Paul Kohlhaas, CEO of Linum Labs. “Bringing a drug to market is a high-cost, high-risk, and slow endeavour, and it is generally large organisations that single-handedly shoulder these burdens, leading to unnecessarily high prices and friction around innovation.”

To compensate for this burden, large organisations, understandably, ignore any IP that is perceived to have less revenue potential or difficult and costly development paths.

Kohlhaas explained the significant knock-on effect this all has on innovation, with the pharmaceutical industry subsequently moving away from a high-risk pioneering approach.

The CEO added: “Instead, we have a low-risk high-ticket size environment where R&D is reduced and only ‘blockbuster drugs’ get approved for development, regardless of their potential impact on overall societal health and wellbeing.”

The next phase of development will include testing with an early user cohort and further iterations of the initial prototype, leading into a minimum viable product. This will be supported by a financing round due to start in Q2 2019.

The organisation is currently hiring and seeking interested parties to contribute towards an open source ecosystem.