If you’re like me and you go to way too many scientific and professional meetings, it’s easy to get jaded. I am trying to limit my travel to stuff that 1) I can afford; and 2) actually interests me. One meeting I am totally geeked up for is the Open Science Summit in Berkeley, California from July 29-31, and organized by Joseph Jackson and his merry band of paradigm-shifting partners in crime:
The well known “10/90” gap references the fact that only 10% of biomedical spending goes toward conditions that affect 90% of the world’s population. Under this regime, “diseases of the poor,” such as malaria, are neglected, while companies focus on “blockbuster” drugs for conditions that affect citizens of the wealthiest nations. This situation, appalling though it is, actually grossly understates the systemic flaws of the prevailing biomedical innovation paradigm. Framing this as a tradeoff between Market vs Social Values or the need for balancing commercial interests with public health, implies that the bio-pharma industrial complex works for what it purports to do. If only we could find some way to engage or tweak existing mechanisms, we’ll make it through. Wrong!
There will be sessions on synthetic biology, gene patents, open data/open access, biodefense, microfinance, entrepreneurship, drug discovery, tech transfer, and more. There will be smart, talented and good-looking presenters (and, uh, me). And it’s cheap!
Why am I pimping this so hard? I am supportive of the cause. These are ideas and approaches that are less likely to be embraced by funding agencies and academia (as you will learn in my forthcoming book). I like and respect the organizers and want to see them succeed.
See you in Berzerkeley!