About Find-a-Drug

Find-a-Drug is a not for profit distributed computing project which was set up by Treweren Consultants, the company who developed the THINK software. Find-a-Drug aims to run a series of projects in parallel addressing a number of diseases which have a major impact on health. We seek to collaborate with the world's leading experts including academics in each therapeutic area. Members may elect to opt in and out of projects at any time using the Find-a-Drug control panel. The progress of each project as well as contributions of our members are published on the web-site. Members can print milestone certificates when they pass milestones for the numbers of molecules processed, the computer time contributed and points generated. The list of members who have found molecules which exhibit the desired biological activity when tested in the laboratory is also published and special active molecule certificates are awarded to these members. It is usual for these certificates to be issued some months after the computer predictions are available and only a subset of the molecules predicted to be active are tested.

Any-one with a PC can help the research by downloading the THINK software. This software runs in background or as a screen-saver so that it does not interfere with normal use of the PC. When the computer is not otherwise being used, the software evaluates the potential of molecules to interact with a protein target. Each molecule that is predicted to interact with the target is considered a "hit" and may become a new drug for treating an important disease. Jobs consisting of about 10,000 molecules are downloaded from the Internet and the list of hits returned. A typical job runs for 6-12 hours on an average PC. The data files downloaded from the Find-a-Drug servers are encrypted as a precaution against a virus or other harmful agent being introduced to the computers.

The initial funding has come from Treweren Consultants but income from partnership agreements to exploit the results will allow Find-a-Drug to become self-funding. Announcements about these agreements and which protein targets they relate to will be made in due course. The results from public interest projects such as the Bioterrorism Antidote project will be made available to approved academic and government research laboratories without charge. We welcome proposals from academics to consider specific protein targets and are sympathetic to requests for a subset of the results. Our preferred partners are small pharmaceutical companies including University spin-off companies with scientific expertise in the therapeutic area who can utilise the results effectively. We are working towards Find-a-Drug.org gaining charitable status which would provide certain tax benefits and independence. The trustees of Find-a-Drug.org will distribute any profits for research. As the costs of running this project are low, research grants would include a substantial part of any income from licensing the results and royalties on sales.

The first internet based computing project which used the THINK virtual screening software was hosted by United Devices in collaboration with the Oxford University. Funding for the original project came from the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) and Intel Corporation. The science for this project was directed by Keith Davies while he was an honorary research fellow at the University. Keith is a founding Director of Treweren Consultants and Find-a-Drug. The Find-a-Drug cancer project is a reflection on Keith's personal motivations and interest in continuing the work begun with United Devices developing therapies for a disease which affects one in four individuals.

Find-a-Drug has benefited from the experience of the earlier project. In part due to assistance from Intel, the latest version of THINK is approximately 40 times faster than version 1.03 used on the United Devices platform. In addition, Find-a-Drug uses geographically dispersed servers which provides superior redundancy and avoids contention downloading jobs and uploading results. The proprietary network communication software uses the standard protocol (http) with encryption of all data and results files. This provides one of the highest levels of security without compromising server performance as well as facilitating the detection of tampering with files.

Find-a-Drug acknowledges the assistance from volunteers creating this site and the software. Flags provided by World Atlas.