Pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim is partnering with Kaggle, the platform that uses gamification to solve complex scientific problems, to create a new model relating to molecular development.

The company wants to use knowledge from the online scientific community to create a new model that will help its scientists accurately predict the biological response of molecules.

As such, it’s working with Kaggle – which has already successfully helped companies and researchers solve problems by holding competitions with cash incentives. 

PSFK reports that the crowd-sourced competition asks participants to come up with an algorithm that can predict a biological endpoint to a molecule by only knowing its structure and composition.

Contributors have until 15 June, 2012, to come up with a working model and share a prize pool of $20,000.

Dr. James Baxter, VP of development at Boehringer Ingelheim said that:

[We’re] proud to be the first pharmaceutical company to use the Kaggle platform as a way to drive innovative solutions to this scientific challenge. We are excited to encourage a dialog on new ideas that may ultimately bring more health to patients and families.”

Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to warm up to the idea of using social media, but many still see it as a legislative mindfield.

Capitalising on online communities in this way means that Boehringer side-steps this problem, while still benefitting from  the ‘hive mind’ aspect. They reach some of the brightest minds, on a global scale, many of which they might not have even thought to ask.

Last month Husam Jandal looked specifically at social media for the healthcare industry with examples from MENA, while eModeration has written a summary of how the new guidance issued by the Federal Drug Administration for pharmaceutical companies impacts social media in practice.