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Linking Organisations Through a Secure Environment for Distributed Drug Discovery

Objective

Molecular Discovery (MD), which relies to a great extent on the visualisation and modification of vector 3D objects, is at the leading edge of the innovation process in economically and socially key industrial sectors (pharmaceutical, agrochemical, new materials, etc). The development of a new drug requires an average of 12 years and 250 MEuros, heavily depending on research work involving several organisations, being confidentiality a must. LINK3D aims at the creation of a secure Internet-based environment for real-time interactive performance of collaborative MD work between distant sites. LINK3D will allow affordable and flexible collaboration within and between organisations as a way to optimise this costly process and improve SMEs' competitiveness, enhancing the academia-industry links and knowledge transfer. LINK3D results will be exploitable in other sectors using vector 3D objects like architecture and industrial design.

Objectives:
LINK3D aims to develop, test and prepare the commercial exploitation of a real-time, interactive distant collaboration environment for professionals working in an strategically crucial field: Molecular Discovery (MD).

The specific objectives of the project are:
1) To gather detailed requirements of MD professionals in terms of tele-collaboration.
2) To develop a set of software applications, configuring a real-time tele-collaboration environment for Drug Discovery professionals.
3) To test the system in real-life environments, both for inter-organisational and intra-organisational collaborative settings and considering the different types of actors involved (industry, academia).
4) To analyse the potential market, the business possibilities of the LINK3D system, and prepare its commercial exploitation, considering extension to other sectors.

Work description:
The LINK3D project workplan addresses the particularities of the area considered, both from the technical domain and the final usability of the product points of view.
First, users' needs are gathered using a variety of strategies.
Then, and on the basis of the results gathered in WP2, the system specification is carried out, devoting specific tasks to key technical issues: file formats, communication protocols and security issues.

System development will ensure that needed features are included in LINK3D. The architecture of the system will follow a Client/Server approach: the site that initiates the collaboration will become the server, to which the other site(s) connect. A communication protocol will be developed in order to limit transmission to the changes that are performed on the shared objects to all participants in the simulation, ensuring that participants have a consistent view of the 3D model. A crucial issue in the field such as security will be carefully addressed so that no observation or manipulation is allowed from third parties. Part of the work will also consist of assessing the underlying network infrastructure, bandwidth needs and delay constraints observed. In order to ensure a suitable quality level of the LINK3D solution, in-process testing activities are scheduled to supplement the actual development of the system.

The suitability of the LINK3D solution in real-life working environments will be assessed considering the two main collaborative scenarios currently existing in the drug discovery domain:
1) Inter-organisational (both for academia-industry and academia-academia settings), and
2) Intra-organisational.

Two testing phases are planned so as to ensure proper feedback to the technical workpackages, allowing for refinement of the system before a second real-world testing activity is engaged. Final testing results serve as input to final business planning thereafter.

Milestones:
M1 definition of user requirements;
M2 Completion of the system specifications (first version);
M3 Completion of the first version of the LINK3D system;
M4 Completion of the first stage of the real-world testing;
M5 Completion of the market analysis;
M6 Completion of the improved system specifications;
M7 Completion of an improved version of the LINK3D system;
M8 Completion of the second stage of the real-world testing;
M9 Completion of the business plan;
M10 LINK3D project completion.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

FUNDACIO IMIM
Address
Passeig Maritim 25-29
08003 Barcelona
Spain

Participants (9)

A.L. DIGITAL LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
Voysey House, Barley Mow Passage
W4 4GB Chiswick, London
ASTRAZENECA AB
Sweden
Address

151 85 Soedertaelje
EUROPEAN COMMISSION - JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE
Italy
Address
Via Fermi 1
21020 Ispra
HEINRICH-HEINE-UNIVERSITAET DUESSELDORF
Germany
Address
Universitaetsstrasse 1
40225 Duesseldorf
LACER, S.A.
Spain
Address
Sardenya 350
08025 Barcelona
M.I.A. MULTIVARIATE INFOMETRIC ANALYSIS SRL
Italy
Address
Viale Dei Castagni 16
06143 Perugia
UNIVERSIDADE DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Spain
Address
Praza Do Obradoiro S/n, Pazo De San Xerome
15782 Santiago De Compostela
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI BARI
Italy
Address
Piazza Umberto I, 1
70121 Bari
UNIVERSITAT POMPEU FABRA
Spain
Address
Placa De La Merce 10-12
08002 Barcelona