Crazy Idea #443: Structure-Activity Relationship Studies Done Through Paid Crowdsourcing

May 06, 2010

Don't let the first few seconds of this video put you off. If you stick to the end, it explains a remarkable business model for bringing experts together with those with a problem to solve.

Trada is a platform that creates a marketplace through which experts in search engine ad placement can find buyers for their services. The experts benefit by not having to hunt down specific clients to get work and by being able to set their own working hours. The buyers benefit by having on-demand access to expert advice with predictable cost structure and delivery timeframe.

What on earth does this have to do with Structure-Activity Relationship studies?

Imagine a Trada-like marketplace designed to bring those with skill in directing SAR studies together with those needing skill in that area.

I could outline in more detail how something like this could work, but I'm much more interested in how you think it could work (or not work).

The place of chemists in drug discovery organizations is changing at a rapid pace. It's time for new business models to fill the gaps left by the crumbling old ones. (If you're a chemist who thinks you don't have a business model, then you need to reconsider this notion - fast.)

I have no idea whether the Trada system could work in practice for drug discovery. But one thing is clear: the failure of one business model (medicinal chemist at large company until retirement) opens opportunities for the next one to take its place. Adaptation is the only way forward.