The project that most captures the imagination this week is Parkure – an organization that is looking to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Traditional methods of drug discovery have thus far proved futile in the search for a PD cure. Parkure will use genetically engineered fruit flies that develop PD in its attempts to succeed where others have failed. The strategy, broadly speaking, is to trial as many candidate drugs as possible. If Parkure chances upon a cure, it will gain access to a market worth $2.7bn.
Experimentation is vital in the formation of any new idea. For some concepts only small amounts are required as the planning, design and calculations have been done to such an extent that any experimentation only verifies that theory in this instance does in fact match reality. A one-time deal so no need to pay much attention to perfecting the process. However, science is not as precise as one would hope and many solutions require more of a 'trial and error' approach. Unfortunately health care solutions fall into this category. With a focus on Parkinson's disease Parkure hopes to streamline the experimentation process by applying the same principals many companies seeking innovation have chosen to do.
The mantra of "fail often, fail fast, fail cheap" has become commonplace in many software development companies and also among other companies looking to innovate. The idea is that it is more productive to optimise the process of failing while making sure that lessons are being learnt than it is to spend huge amounts on theorising and planning. Parkure achieves this by inducing Parkinson's disease in fruit flies which can then be used to test various candidate drug compounds, in order to gauge their effectiveness at stopping the nerve cell degeneration. By using this method they can quickly and cheaply test a myriad of compounds that simply wouldn't be economically viable through traditional clinical trials thus raising the chance that they find the winning solution.
Ultimately the crux of whether investing in Parkure will pay off is not only if there is in fact a compound out there that can stop Parkinson's but whether high volume trials will find it faster than a dedicated team that reach a new level of understanding of the disease. A comparison could be drawn with the infamous dating app 'Tinder'. The app allows for large volumes of potential matches to be viewed so rapidly that sooner or later it will provide a match between two people regardless of whether the individual might be considered an ‘acquired taste’. But can that ever really replace catching someone's eye across a room and getting that instinctual feeling that this person could be the one? Ultimately huge quantities of data are very useful but sometimes it's the small amount of quality data that can go the distance and cross the finishing line.
Target fundraise: £100,000-150,000
Amount raised so far: £12,500
Number of backers so far: 10
Equity offered: 11-16%
Days left to invest: 76
Minimum investment amount: £500