Q: How do you see CDD evolving over the next couple years? A: I think it’ll grow wings and fly.
Q: What prompted you to create CDD?
A: First we saw a need to broadly empower scientists with self-explanatory technologies for scientific data and decision management. I especially noticed in academia there were brilliant scientists lacking the infrastructure and software tools that industry has to accelerate research and development.
Second we (we because CDD was a spinout of Eli Lilly where I (Barry) was an Entrepreneur in Residence working in Alpheus Bingham’s group) foresaw a time when due to the economics of specialization, more efficient drug discovery would demand a more collaborative model and mechanism to advance drugs. Ergo the name Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD), we needed an internet inspired platform to securely collaborate between the entire ecosystem of academic, startup, CRO, foundation, government, biotech and of course pharma researchers. On a personal note, I wanted the platform to be equally applicable to Neglected and Commercial drug discovery after visiting some poorer countries.
While incubated within Lilly, we first called the “experiment” ChemBot, and considered it more a marketplace for data, models, and services (the later somewhat like Science Exchange).
It has evolved into a leading platform for handling scientific data privately, collaboratively and/or publicly. The majority of researchers, of course, work in the private, secure modes, ergo the CDD Vault® emerged as the most descriptive name, to consistently emphasize the security even on the subconscious level, for our Collaborative Platform. The other company we considering spinning out was focused on single drug opportunities, I felt CDD would have the maximum benefit for more scientists and projects – and it does!
Q: Who did you feel would use CDD when you started? Who is your intended customer base
A: It is ironic, because although it was a spin out of big pharma, our first customers were all academics (initially at UCSF). One of the reasons Lilly invested and spun CDD out of Lilly as an independent company (now for over 8 years), was that we demonstrated there was a marketplace, even working solely with academic labs. We did this very quickly, while developing the earliest prototypes.
I wanted to work on Neglected Diseases from day one. This was very aligned with UCSF and especially the McKerrow Group, which was our first large customer. The nice thing is a molecule is a molecule, an IC50 is an IC50, so I like to say we are target and therapeutic area “agnostic”.
Since we’ve iterated, improved and continuously optimized the product, the community, and the collaborations. Today we work with all types of groups, from the most privacy sensitive big pharma to the smallest group aka an individual (one person startups bootstrapping).
Q: What are the specific service offerings and features of CDD?
A: CDD offers simpler, easier to use software for chemical and biological data. It is a robust solution for collaborating around data and people with capabilities for chemical registration, IC50s, plate/well data, mining, saved searches, shared collections and more.
One of the neat things about CDD as a web-based platform is it is always getting better at an accelerated rate as a function of our number of paying users….
Please visit Science Exchange to read the full interview, thank you!