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Martin Shkreli Is Back With a Web3 Drug Discovery Platform

Martin Shkrelithe notorious ex-pharmaceutical executive fresh from prison after his 2017 fraud convictionannounced his latest, eyebrow-raising venture this week: the creation of a blockchain-based Web3 drug discovery platform that traffics in their own cryptocurrency, MSI, aka Martin Shkreli Inu.

The platform, still in the first development phase, is named Druglike, in accordance with a news release that circulated on July 25. Its goals are ostensibly lofty, however the details are really sketchy, and Shkrelis intentions have previously drawn skepticism. Its also unclear if the enterprise will run Shkreli afoul of his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, which stemmed from the abrupt and callous 4,000 percent price hike of a life-saving drug that made him infamous.

Shkreli, who’s named as a cofounder of Druglike, says the platform aims to create early-stage drug discovery less expensive and accessible. Druglike will remove barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation and invite a broader band of contributors to talk about the rewards, Shkreli said in the news release. Underserved and underfunded communities, such as for example those centered on rare diseases or in developing markets, may also benefit from usage of these tools.

Generally, early-stage drug development will often involve virtual screens to recognize potential drug candidates. In such cases, pharmaceutical scientists first identify a targeta specific compound or protein that plays a crucial role in creating a disease or condition. Then researchers search for compounds or small molecules which could hinder that target, sometimes binding or docking right to the target in a manner that keeps it from functioning. This is often done in physical labs using massive libraries of compounds in high-throughput chemical screens. Nonetheless it may also be done virtually, using specialized software and lots of computing power, which may be resource-intensive.

Concepts and Questions

Thats where Shkrelis Druglike is imagined ahead in. In a white paper posted on Druglikes website, Shkreli-associated Jason Sommer lays out some concepts for the way the companys platform works. Essentially, it could work with a decentralized computing network of task providers, solvers, and validators that could run and optimize the virtual screening of drug candidates. The white paper draws similarities to FoldIt, an online puzzle game that essentially uses distributed computing and crowdsourcing to fold proteins and predict their structures.

But Druglikes platform is touted as incorporating blockchain concepts and cryptocurrency transactions when users complete tasks, such as for example docking screens. For example, the paper describes a proof-of-optimization concept as a novel blockchain-based verification step for screening work, much like Bitcoins proof-of-work method.

We propose a blockchain-based implementation of Proof-of-Optimization, in which a distributed ledger stores records which proof solutions participate in which Solvers. Smart contracts allow secure distribution of rewards to the Solver who owns the verified proof, Sommer writes in the paper.

But, for the present time, the white paper only loosely describes these concepts, and its own unclear the way the cryptocurrency transactions will create value. Its also unclear the way the project will undoubtedly be funded, though an online exchange suggested that the business could look for capital raising financing.

On Twitter, where Shkreli has been banned, he currently comes with an account as Enrique Hernandez @zkEnrique7. From there, Shkreli announced the business on July 25 and hosted a conversation concerning the project.

For the reason that conversation, he scoffed at the theory that the platform would breach his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, saying that the project only involves developing software, not drugs. Writing some code in Github and pressing go will not cause you to a pharmaceutical company, he said.

This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.

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