Bio-link Australia Pty. Ltd.

19th September 2018 – Australia’s Back Yard Science Challenges the Pharma Industry

This week, “backyard science” was considered the next potential disruptor in the pharmaceutical industry, in a controversial article published in Trends in Biotechnology from CellPress Reviews, co-authored by Christopher Boyer, co-Executive Director of Bio-Link. The opinion piece reveals how community biolabs are popping up around the world to create innovative approaches to drug manufacturing. Their aim is to facilitate increased access to drugs for patients who cannot afford to pay high drug prices, and are willing to explore do-it-yourself or “DIY” manufacturing of medicines.

A prominent example of this potential coming wave of DIY medicines is the production of home-brewed insulin, for the treatment of diabetes. The Open Insulin Project, an initiative born out of California, brings together community biolabs around the world, who are focused on making the protocol for insulin production freely available. Unlike Australians who benefit from Government-subsidised medicines, patients in the US do not receive the same high level of reimbursement for drugs such as insulin. Many diabetics cannot afford to pay, and chose to go without the necessary medication. However, if the Project succeeds, pioneering patients could turn to home-brewed insulin to beat the high price of the drug.

In Australia, Sydney is home to a biolab community called BioFoundry, Australia’s first open-access molecular biology laboratory, offering everyday citizens the opportunity to collaborate in scientific research and development. Australia is well known to be a world leader in innovation, and these community biolabs offer non-scientists and early career scientists the opportunity to experiment in the lab to develop new medicines.

You can read more about DIY insulin and the DIYBio movement in the new Trends in Biotechnology article (here) and in a web synopsis published in The Conversation (here).

Please share our story and let us know your thoughts on DIY medicines. We’d love to hear opinions from our followers in Australia and around the world.