Art & Science – The Pistoia Alliance, Dragons Den – An Opportunity to Showcase a New App

Sean Ekins | Collaborative Chemistry | February 8, 2012

What do David Hockney and I have in common? Not much except he is pushing the boundaries and creating great art with an iPad and well I am trying to use an iPad to do drug discovery, pushing a different kind of boundary.

I had chance to see his exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts today and I was very impressed. Then I gave my first Dragon’s Den presentation using an iPad at the Royal Society of Chemistry (next door to the Royal Academy of Arts), with a few of the brainstorming slides shared previously, followed by a demo of the prototype open drug discovery dream teams ODDITY App , which Alex Clark created from the idea in about a week. So it was a two minute fast sell. A lot of fun!

We had a good audience consisting of ~ 50-60 pharma, hardware, software, VC funders, etc..and great questions. I did not win (congratulations Ramesh and Ingrid) but I gained a lot of funny money, probably more than it would take to develop the app! So what did I not have chance to articulate clearly (obviously)- the value proposition.

If I had to do it all again I would just show the prototype App, how it could deal with the data deluge problem. Finally I would have showed the slides of what it would do when finished and how it could potentially bring scientists together, or at least allow drug companies and patients a fast way to figure out what and who to connect with for a disease or topic of interest. Then there are the potential what ifs..well what if you used it for something other than drug discovery research etc? hmm..Simplify finding the content that really interests you in some other scientific area, say green chemistry.

If you had asked me in Dec 2011 that I would have given a talk and demo on an iPad for a new prototype App designed from an idea in a week or so, I would have laughed. Perhaps this will be the first of more presentations on the device...