Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lilly Launches Online Drug Discovery Game

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This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

The pharma industry has been relatively mum on the topic of gamification recently.  The last time there was serious buzz was the introduction of Syrum almost two years ago and we’re still waiting for it to be launched in the U.S.  While it may not have had the same juice as Syrum, on Friday Lilly launched Destination Discovery—A game intended to educate users about the about the risks and challenges in drug discovery. 

The game is aimed at providing insight into the extensive research and regulatory efforts associated with “bringing a new medicine from molecule to medicine cabinet.” In the announcement, Lilly describes it as a way for them to “share [their] passion for the modern medical discovery process.”

The best way I could describe the game is a clinical research edition of trivial pursuit played on what looks like a digital Candy Land board.  The user is asked multiple choice questions that vary depending on what stage of drug discovery your player resides on the board.  For example, I was met in the “Research and Development” stage with a question on what percentage of drugs have the potential to become “first-in-class” medicines (the answer is 70% by the way).  

Eli Lilly's Destination Discovery
How sharp is your drug discovery trivia? 

Precisely who the game is intended for appears to be a bit convoluted.  The simplistic nature of it and the design make it suitable for children.  However, the message regarding drug discovery life-cycle is probably more suited for adults.  The same goes for most the educational pieces and content that the user is lead to upon answering a question incorrectly or completing the game.

This may be more a case of Lilly dipping their toe in the water in the field of gamification.  Their cautious, and somewhat ambiguous approach, in this case would seem to be representative of the pharma industry as a whole in this space.  Although it did take me three tries to beat the game, maybe my skeptical attitude can be attributed to that. 

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