Concerns: Will someone (i.e. BigPharma) make money out of my CPU time?

Message boards : Rosetta@home Science : Concerns: Will someone (i.e. BigPharma) make money out of my CPU time?

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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 13959 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 16:24:24 UTC

In my experience, this is perhaps the 2nd biggest reservation of most people when considering donating time to life-science projects. (the 1st concern being the issue of PC security and the 3rd concern being the "wear" on the PC/CPU/etc)

E.g. yesterday I stumbled upon the following comments in DCers profiles:

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"Profile: (SETI @Home)
When we, as Data Processors, come to the SETI @Home web site, we or myself any way, leave the world we live in behind us and venture into outer space, but it's nice to find a "Profile" authored by someone who is very down-to-earth. I quote from his profile regarding why this individual enjoys processing for SETI: "I like SETI as opposed to other distributed computing projects as no commercial entity stands to make money out of my CPU time. Sure, it may be a noble cause to donate CPU time to trying to find a cure for cancer but if such a cure is found you can bet your bottom dollar that "the company" will make a fortune out of it. And if I then get cancer and need their expensive drug sometime will they give it to me free or discounted because I donated X amount of CPU-years to help discover it I don't think so jack." Enough Said!"


Attempting to answer these concerns, I usually explain the distiction between basic and applied research.

For Rosetta in particular, I point out the fact that Rosetta software is licensed for free to academic institutions:

"The Rosetta codes are available to academics free of charge under a non-exclusive license while industry may obtain Rosetta through a non-exclusive license."

What else can be said to alleviate people's concerns?
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Profile Feet1st
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Message 13960 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 16:41:59 UTC - in response to Message 13959.  

if I then get cancer and need their expensive drug sometime will they give it to me free or discounted because I donated X amount of CPU-years to help discover it?


Well... least the drug would be available :) That's more than ET is likely to bring you.

But yes, it's one thing to say the algorythm is available TODAY to other institutions. What is in place to say that it STAYS that way once it is able to drive in a straight line to the properly folded protein?

I mean Microsoft might publish source code to MS-DOS too, but it's because they are now on to something that has far greater value and applicability to today's marketplace.
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Profile dag
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Message 13965 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 18:53:22 UTC - in response to Message 13959.  

"The Rosetta codes are available to academics free of charge under a non-exclusive license while industry may obtain Rosetta through a non-exclusive license."



This is the main reason Rosetta gets my farm instead of the World Community Grid.


dag
--Finding aliens is cool, but understanding the structure of proteins is useful.
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BennyRop

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Message 13966 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 19:18:23 UTC

My grandmother found out she had a form of cancer in an advanced state. They offered her the same treatment that one of her sisters went through which kept my great aunt alive for 6 more months, at the cost that those 6 months were pure agony and extreme sickness. She chose not to try chemotherapy.

If there were a few more options for cancer treatments, (or cures) - then I'd have got to spend time with her, instead of having her pass away 2 weeks before we were scheduled to visit her.

I worry first about getting the options available, and then about the price; where if the options are being produced by more than one of the big pharmaceuticals, then we'll have competition to help drive down the costs of the treatment/cure.

And that's tons better than what we have now.

Whereas with SETI, we'd have to be hoping for something happening like the plot of the movie Contact? Only to be informed that we're not worthy.. *grin*

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Profile dcdc

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Message 13973 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 20:03:41 UTC

a lot of people overlook the fact that the pharma companies NEED to make a lot of money from drugs because it costs a phenomenal amount to get a drug through to production. Without that revenue they can't exist.
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BennyRop

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Message 13980 - Posted: 17 Apr 2006, 21:16:16 UTC

I complain about the rising costs of insulin - which is now produced by genetically modified bacteria; (slave labor!!!) but I'm VERY happy to have the ability to complain about those rising costs. The alternative was not a happy prospect.
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Mike Gelvin
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Message 13993 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 1:02:39 UTC - in response to Message 13966.  

Where if the options are being produced by more than one of the big pharmaceuticals, then we'll have competition to help drive down the costs of the treatment/cure.


Not likely to ever be any real competition in the drug industry... think PATENTS.

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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 14002 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 2:34:10 UTC - in response to Message 13965.  

This is the main reason Rosetta gets my farm instead of the World Community Grid.


Since you mentioned that, could someone please explain to me why WCG is using a quorum of 4, considering the case about validation of results
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Message 14005 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 3:07:38 UTC
Last modified: 18 Apr 2006, 3:08:35 UTC

Oh my God! You mean someone might actually produce something of value to cure diseases and thus eventually earn income from it!? Why don't we just all become Marxists instead so that what we consume never ends up producing anything greater than the raw materials used to produce it? The Khmer Rouge had a wonderfully well working plan based on THAT premise. Give me a break!

You know, homicide detectives make a 'profit' in their capacity as policemen. I guess they're just capitalizing on other people's tragedies. We should fire them all until they volunteer to work for free.

Do you want the progress toward the cures of these diseases advanced or not? What a bunch of hoakem....

[edit-spelling]

Founder of BOINC GROUP - Objectivists - Philosophically minded rational data crunchers.


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Profile bruce boytler
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Message 14031 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 12:25:55 UTC

Hi All,

Philantropy is definitely a hard road to follow. Knowing that you and a few other interested souls are tasked with finding the way to the new 21 century medicine. This being the case because a large potion of the compute power is now in the hands of joe blow.

You would actually be very lucky if big pharma actually did take our results seriously. Then you would be assured of having a drug in the system for you to accesses. As the case is now the big drug companies dont even have us on the radar. I know because I asked. Specificaly at one of the companies anual meeting for which I own some stock.

Ciao......
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Message 14037 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 13:43:18 UTC

Guess this means that BURP is a better project to crunch for :P
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Message 14041 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 16:23:51 UTC

It's not like we are being asked to devote our computer time to producing a cheesier cheese doodle or a crunchier potato chip, guys. I hope I've gotten through to a couple of folks here. I mean, how can one truly argue against someone who incorporates 'cheese doodle' in his arguments? :-)
Founder of BOINC GROUP - Objectivists - Philosophically minded rational data crunchers.


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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 14047 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 17:18:51 UTC - in response to Message 14005.  

Oh my God! You mean someone might actually produce something of value to cure diseases and thus eventually earn income from it!?...


Robert, do you think that dismissing the issue and referring to Marx or Khmer Rouge will help convince the people who have the reservations quoted in the first message? (that fellow was actually quoting the text from the profile of another cruncher)

Have you tried to "recruit" people to crunch for life-science projects?

Look at the forums of WCG or UD's CureCancer or FAH projects and you'll notice that the issue of intellectual property and public availability of any results is a high priority for many people. Have a look here, here. One could fill pages with similar stuff.
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Message 14070 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 19:34:49 UTC

There is a post/websection somewhere stating that the results will be available free to all.

So taking that, who is to say that the Seti results will be available free to all people and it will not be made available to some moeny makeing bluechip company ?

Actually having crunched for the original seti and read their website I don;t rember anything baout them making the results available ?




Also we are only a small part in the drug/cure development process, I know over at Find-a-drug the malaria results are now being used by and open source style chemistry science project, looking for and testing the 'hits' mollecules in real life.
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Message 14083 - Posted: 18 Apr 2006, 22:12:39 UTC - in response to Message 14047.  

Oh my God! You mean someone might actually produce something of value to cure diseases and thus eventually earn income from it!?...


Robert, do you think that dismissing the issue and referring to Marx or Khmer Rouge will help convince the people who have the reservations quoted in the first message? (that fellow was actually quoting the text from the profile of another cruncher)

Have you tried to "recruit" people to crunch for life-science projects?

Look at the forums of WCG or UD's CureCancer or FAH projects and you'll notice that the issue of intellectual property and public availability of any results is a high priority for many people. Have a look here, here. One could fill pages with similar stuff.

Have I tried to recruit others to the project? Yes. I also have a team of about 47 members (small team, but alive) that I started with SETI and am waiting to bring over to Rosetta once the 'tell a friend' idea and the 'letter to inactive members' is completed. You should know this fact if you remembered many of my posts regarding that effort and contributions to it.

--------------

As for the rest of what you have to say.....sometimes being very direct with people is the morally proper way to address them. Regarding the original poster, his comments are, in my view, too similar to idealogies that have left a great burden of misery on humanity. So, no, I don't think those 'tactics' are too brutal. When someone tells me/us/you/them that they consider to NOT help with research searching for potential cures to diseases BECAUSE someone down the line might make a $ you need to question that person's mindset.
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Message 14133 - Posted: 19 Apr 2006, 20:15:10 UTC - in response to Message 14083.  


As for the rest of what you have to say.....sometimes being very direct with people is the morally proper way to address them. Regarding the original poster, his comments are, in my view, too similar to idealogies that have left a great burden of misery on humanity. So, no, I don't think those 'tactics' are too brutal. When someone tells me/us/you/them that they consider to NOT help with research searching for potential cures to diseases BECAUSE someone down the line might make a $ you need to question that person's mindset.


I think that when you *seem* to suggest that someone must be a Marxist if they don't want to make BigPharma rich, you are not being direct at all.

You are suggesting something that I don't actually think you mean to suggest (which is why I put the stars round the word "seem").

Not wanting co-operative work (which os what a donate-for-free DC project is) to be grabbed by a business that works for profit is just common sense. That is why you get more people working as volunteers in a soup kitchen for the homeless than you do working for nothing for McDonalds. If you refuse to work for nothing for McD's it doesn't make you a Marxist.

And I'd suggest that if you push that kind of line, is more likely to push people away than attract them - certainly from my side of the Atlantic anyway. I don't want to doante my computer time just to boost the economy of a foreign country (that is what the USA is to me) nor just to make drugs avaialbale to their (your) natioanl market. Rosetta has good answers to those questions, if I did not believe so I would not be here - but I agree with the original posting that more could be done to make those answers even more available than they are.

Insulting those who ask the question is not going to work.

River~~


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Message 14158 - Posted: 20 Apr 2006, 5:07:00 UTC

People!!! We're producing protein structures here, not drug molecules!! When protein structures get published, they go into a common database, that BigPharma DOES have access to. But so do you!!

Pharmaceutical companies might chose to target a specific protein that we've crunched (for example prevent it from being functional as a cancer treatment). It's EASIER and CHEAPER if they have the structure, but in all honesty, they can do it without knowing exactly what the protein looks like.

Often, they'll look for an end result, then modify the chemical to improve the efficacy, and improve delivery (water solubility is important!!), once they have the drug of interest, they'll figure out the exact mechanism, and it is HERE that the protein structure comes into play.

I worked at a small biotech firm that was still working on its first drug after almost 10 years of research (but were in Phase 1 human trials). In this time, they had obviously sold NOTHING.... But it cost about $50 000/day (I might be short a factor of 5) just to keep the place running. They had millions of dollars invested in them from various share holders... this is one of the reasons drugs are so expensive... Because producing effective drugs is NOT easy.

Anyway, I HOPE that people can eventually use Rosetta to determine the structures of unknown proteins (note that we already KNOW the structures of all the proteins we're doing... we're doing calibrations and improvements to a system right now). I hope that some of those proteins help produce medicines. If they don't, what's the point?


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Message 14189 - Posted: 20 Apr 2006, 18:23:42 UTC


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Message 14225 - Posted: 21 Apr 2006, 4:13:34 UTC

Just to reiterate what has already been said here, all work done in this project, and in our group generally, is for the public good and nobody will make money out of it. all of our software and
results are freely available to all but corporations, who have to pay--all the money we raise in this way goes back into the project. for example, we may be able to use some of these funds to pay Laura for the Rosetta@home video she is planning to make. by far and away the major use is for our annual rosetta developers meeting held every summer in the cascades which brings in researchers from all over the country.
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Message 14352 - Posted: 22 Apr 2006, 7:35:36 UTC - in response to Message 14189.  
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