Boehringer claims 'gamification' win in pharma

Video game magic has rubbed off on a pharma-sponsored competition. To harness the excitement that keeps video game players coming back for more, German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim held an online contest that challenged teams to create predictive data models for use in drug development. And the company pinned a winner recently and awarded the team $10,000, PMLive reported.

As Boehringer seeks to tap the wisdom of nonpharma folks to solve big data problems, the company rallied members of the scientific community known as Kaggle to make use of public-domain data sets on compound characteristics as well as data on biological responses to craft their predictive models, PMLive reported. The top prize went to a pair of insurance firm researchers and a Harvard neurobiologist--smart people but not necessarily from pharma.

"This is a data set that the academic community have been bouncing around for years," David Thompson, a social media strategist at Boehringer, told PMLive. "And it looks as if in three months people with no formal training in chemistry have developed models that are as good, if not better, than the models that the academic community are putting together."

Given that players could follow a leader board during the online competition, it's fair to say that Boehringer used an ingredient of video gaming in the contest. Yet the drugmaker has plans to bring the pharma business into the social gaming realm in the near future with Syrum. Boehringer's Syrum is a Facebook game in development that lets players run a make-believe drug company, educating them about the pharma business in the process, Reuters reported.

- read PMLive's article
- check out the Reuters report