New era for natural products

Some of our most powerful modern pharmaceuticals come from nature. Yet, less than 10% of the 250,000 known plant species have been studied and, of the 300,000 phytochemicals developed from them, only 10% are available commercially. Clearly, we are nowhere near making full use of nature’s treasures. With the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs growing, with cancers and diabetes becoming global epidemics, the time has come to do so. Could new methods for managing data and an open source platform for sharing research be the key to finding leads?

It was this question that drew members from the Swiss pharma/chemical community to the first InnovationWell Basel knowledge café held on November 21 at the Basel Technology Park. Co-sponsored by Edelweiss Connect and the new Swiss OpenTox Chapter*, the event explored how technology could open the way to new drug discovery from natural products. The Basel event was the first in Europe, following InnovationWell’s successful deployment in Boston, Philadelphia and the North Carolina Research Triangle.

InnovationWell’s informal knowledge café format aims to get participants brainstorming about an issue. At the Basel event, four experts offered their perspectives before the group broke up for an informal discussion about the ideas.

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About Edelweiss Connect

Edelweiss Connect has developed computer software that helps combine data from many different sources and formats into a useable form for evaluation and re-use. In addition, we have developed other software programs that can use the collected data and data from in vitro tests to predict the safety of chemical compounds in the human body.

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