While open source moves forward smartly in software, the movement has barely begun in biology, where the need is much greater.

The first such “open source biology” company, Sage Bionetworks, was founded just this year and is only now beginning to solicit its first donations beyond seed money.

Its growth may be slowed in that both co-founders, Stephen Friend and Eric Schadt (who has since left), came from Merck, and the perception may be that this is a Merck stalking horse.

The big news is that this may be broadening. Sage is now trumpeting a “major donation” (amount unspecified) from Quintiles, a contract researcher with 21,000 employees.  Friend is now going around the world in search of more.

I will have more to say about Sage’s efforts in biology, and what may be hampering them, over at SmartPlanet Rethinking Healthcare, but for now I want to solicit the wisdom of open source readers.

How would you go about gaining traction for open source biology? What should Stephen Friend be doing?

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  1. An open source energy future?

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