#5: Paul Kohlhaas on Decentralizing  Research Funding and the Future of Science
#5: Paul Kohlhaas on Decentralizing  Research Funding and the Future of Science

#5: Paul Kohlhaas on Decentralizing Research Funding and the Future of Science

🎙 Introduction

My guest today is Paul Kohlhaas. Paul is the co-Founder and CEO of Molecule, a software platform to accelerate innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. It connects scientists, patients, and industry to advance drug development and therapeutics in an open market. To achieve this, Molecule employs Web3 and blockchain technology to leverage the power of distributed incentive-based ecosystems.

We start the conversation by talking about what Molecule is trying to achieve with scientific funding. Paul explains the current projects they're working on; then he explains why crowdfunding could help avoid the valley of death in science. We talk about the cultural and social aspects of science that will need to change in the future. My favorite part of the episode was to hear Paul's prediction about where science will be in ten years from now.

Please, enjoy my conversation with Paul Kohlhaas.

Find Paul online:

Molecule 👇

💬 Topics we Discuss

  • What Molecule is doing
  • The funding problem in science & academia
  • The valley of death in science
  • How to speed up discoveries — where is the bottleneck right now?
  • Creating an open market for pharmaceutical innovation
  • The work of Molecule on the distributed ownership structure for drug development
  • Bringing decentralized research to science
  • The future of biotech/science
  • Paul's favorite underrated books

Some quotes from Paul's articles:

As one of our advising researchers put it, “we spend 80% of our time writing grant applications and 20% doing the actual research”. Furthermore, study selection tends to skew towards more traditional projects that take fewer risks and agencies often require proof-of-concept studies as part of submissions which makes it enormously difficult for experimental ventures to get off the ground.

To overcome these hurdles, many researchers are starting to reach out to the public to directly fund their work. Consequently, crowdfunding has emerged as a potential solution for the lack of research investment. Platforms like experiment.com, Consano, and lifespan.io managed to connect scientists with supporters and raise significant amounts for their undertakings.

In this approach, the focus of securing funding shifts from being about status measured by publications to the ability of exciting individuals about your research cause. This forces scientists to actively engage with the public and opens crucial feedback loops for persons of interest to steer direction with their personal investments. In this sense, crowdfunding can act as a tool to democratize research spending that directly benefits society by bringing more people into science.

Molecule Catalyst

We’ve spent the past year developing Molecule, a software protocol that will provide a new distributed ownership structure for drug development. It will unite researchers, biotechs, investors and patients in public marketplaces that democratize research capital allocation and create novel collaboration and data sharing incentives. Our ultimate goal is to improve efficiency and enable new, sustainable business models in an industry that is challenged by a decline in innovation and rising drug prices.

With Molecule Catalyst, we will launch an incentive-driven funding system for basic research. We are working with leading research institutes in their respective fields whose work ranges from early testing of entirely new molecules up to real clinical trials of potential therapeutics. Our launch projects are in the areas of:
Rare and neglected diseases,
Biogerontology and
Psychedelic studies.

📚 Books Recommended by Paul

📖 Some of my Favorite Articles from Paul and Resources Mentioned in the Episode

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