New Site Offers Cash For Scientific Solutions

By Tim Stevens Harkening back to the basic R&D roots of the Internet, Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, has launched a new e-business venture designed to expand collaboration and attract the world's keenest scientific minds. Called InnoCentive LLC, this wholly owned subsidiary will post scientific challenges at the Web site, www.innocentive.com, and offer monetary awards for their solutions. While the first of these originate from Eli Lilly, other companies will be encouraged to present their technical challenges. Initially, the challenges fall into the realm of organic chemistry. At site launch, close to $1 million of incentive was available against 20 posted challenges. Says InnoCentive Chairman Alpheus Bingham, "The new company [is designed] to reach beyond the traditional R&D facilities and tap into more of the brightest scientific minds in the world." Regarding intellectual property, the company seeking a solution would help the solution provider fund any patent application, and would expect an assignation of the use of the invention in exchange for the compensation paid. The name of the seeking company will be hidden from site visitors. "What we don't want is a catalog of research projects" of what a pharmaceutical or chemical company is interested in, posted on the Web, says Bingham.

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