Discover how Florian Montel, through innovative open science and collaboration, is revolutionizing disease biology research. Enter Boehringer Ingelheim’s, a groundbreaking digital open science platform erasing barriers and fostering collaborative breakthroughs. By providing access to top-tier tool molecules and data, bridges academia and pharmaceutical industries, catalyzing novel therapeutic development. This initiative unites interdisciplinary experts, incubating unexpected collaborations and driving innovation. It democratically supports worldwide research, transcending backgrounds and origins. opnMe’s vision empowers researchers, propelling medicine toward new frontiers, fostering a culture of transparency, and forging a healthier future.

Which wall does your research break?

One key challenge in the research world is the limited availability of high-quality pharmacological probes to investigate disease biology and provide a basis for drug candidate development. Most research focuses on a small proportion of proteins with readily available probes, leaving the majority of the proteome that is relevant for human disease uncharted and consequently missing many opportunities to transform patients’ lives. Studies that rely on low-quality probes still dominate the scientific literature, slowing down or even preventing research advances. Pharmaceutical companies rarely disclose the probes they develop for drug discovery projects, which could help address these issues. There are also barriers preventing experts from coming together to solve relevant scientific challenges together. Boehringer Ingelheim is breaking these silos with, a purely digital Open Science platform, which enables scientists to address questions they could otherwise not by providing access to high-quality tool molecules and data with no strings attached. also creates unprecedented scientific networks between academia and the pharmaceutical industry to help address complex scientific challenges on the path to developing novel therapeutic options to address unmet patient needs. It does so by posing pharmaceutically relevant questions and by inviting experts to collaborate on specific research questions and funding select projects. This part of the opnMe project brings together people, sometimes from unexpected places, who would never have met otherwise and come from different disciplines. This creates healthy frictions that drive innovation, where it might not have been expected. The project also supports ideas democratically, giving experts around the globe equal chances for research funding by focusing on the best scientific ideas, independent of the institution’s background, gender, or origin. We believe that open innovation and opnMe are game-changers for the relationship between the pharmaceutical industries and academia. The opnMe project brings together researchers from academia and the pharmaceutical industry to create an online laboratory for human problem-solving and collaboration. The digital nature of this initiative allows for widespread dissemination of information that was previously unavailable. It hypercharges the efficiency of open innovation in solving complex challenges by defining novel ways to apply it to the research cycle and unleash scientists’ creativity. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the discovery of new innovative medicines that help address unmet patient needs and will help transform lives for generations.

What inspired or motivated you to work on your current research or project?

What originally inspired me to create opnMe is my belief that open science is a necessary disruptive initiative in the pharmaceutical industry to ultimately have a positive impact on patients’ lives. I think that science can no longer be performed in silos. is fully open and transparent to everyone. All data about our tool compounds, delivered for free, are accessible without registration. As a result, opnMe is a tool to break existing silos, demonstrating that my company, Boehringer Ingelheim, is ready to collaborate openly and fairly with the academic community and society, with a measurable impact on patients’ lives. What continues to motivate me to work on this project is being in contact with hundreds of scientists from around the world every year and receiving their appreciation and gratitude for access to Boehringer Ingelheim assets and seeing the impact of our molecules in the public domain. Research timelines are quite long and having the opportunity to reduce them and see faster outcomes of my colleagues’ work openly available to the scientific community is exciting. This is a tremendous motivator to continue providing them with high-quality compounds and questions. My final personal motivation is that I want to share my passion for life science with as many people as possible to encourage young students to choose science for their education. The recent years, especially after the COVID crisis, have shown us the importance of science and its impact on our daily lives. Science is essential and also fun! Participating in Falling Walls pitches would be a great opportunity to share my passion.

In what ways does society benefit from your research?

There are more bright scientists outside than within a single pharmaceutical company like Boehringer Ingelheim. So ultimately, society benefits from opnMe because it accelerates the understanding of disease biology and provides a basis for accelerated drug candidate development. It opens up our molecule library to the brightest minds around the globe, which will help to shorten the time until much-needed therapeutic options can be developed to address unmet patients’ needs. Additionally, opnMe fosters new partnerships with scientists from unexpected places to collaborate on innovative scientific ideas with Boehringer Ingelheim, giving experts around the globe equal chances for research funding, independent of the institution’s background, gender, or origin. opnMe can achieve this goal by improving the quality of scientific research and supporting and driving forward research ideas. Since the launch of opnMe in November 2017, scientists from 85 countries have accessed and ordered nearly 5,700 unique molecules to advance their research. Without opnMe, this would not have been possible. We have received over 1,700 research applications and launched more than 119 scientific collaborations with scientists we met through Nearly 150 publications (from Nature, PNAS, Cell, Science, etc…) stemming from molecules placed on opnMe have been released by scientists worldwide. Within Boehringer Ingelheim, opnMe has stimulated significant changes; Thanks to opnMe, our strategic drug discovery approach is now more than ever embracing open innovation. We have become one of the leaders in the field. The feedback from scientists has been overwhelming. We are grateful that we can give back in such a significant way to foster the scientific community for the ultimate benefit of patients. Additionally, students and researchers see that the pharmaceutical industry can positively impact life science research in an open manner and motivates students to pursue life science to support society. Many of those who have accessed our program are at the early stage of their careers, and we are proud to provide them with materials that may help them progress to the next level. This initiative has also helped identify talents who have since started careers at Boehringer Ingelheim as scientists.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes or aspirations for the future based on your research or project?

Thanks to, we can reach out to countries worldwide. 5% of interactions are from South America and 12% from Asia, reflecting that scientists from emerging countries can also benefit from our program, truly breaking down silos and walls and democratizing life science innovation. My hope is to continue to develop this initiative further to foster collaboration between researchers, academic institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry. I am optimistic that it will lead to more breakthroughs and innovations in the field of medicine and accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by enabling researchers to test new hypotheses and explore novel therapeutic approaches more quickly. I hope that will facilitate the sharing of research findings and insights among its users, promoting a culture of openness and transparency in the scientific community, and changing the perception of the pharmaceutical industry. Ultimately, I wish that the discoveries and innovations made possible by will lead to the development of new treatments and therapies that improve patient outcomes and overall public health. I am also hopeful that thanks to the new digital native generation will engage further in scientific studies having access via a digital approach to tools that can help their career next steps or open new doors to cutting-edge science.

Further information

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