The Open Insulin Foundation is a non-profit creating the means for communities in-need to have local sources of safe, affordable, high-quality insulin.
Our governance is shared between people with diabetes and people working on the project. Our working groups collaborate to develop new tools for open drug production, from R&D to manufacturing for medical use. Our goal is that people living with diabetes and their communities can own and govern the organizations that produce the medicine they depend on to survive.
Originally named The Open Insulin Project, our work began in 2015 at Counter Culture Labs, a community biology lab in Oakland, California. Launching with a crowdfunding campaign that raised just over $16,000, we have since attracted participation from volunteers and community labs around the US and the world, with about two dozen active volunteers, twenty interns, and a large network of advisors. We are currently transitioning to become a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization under our new name, The Open Insulin Foundation.
No one should be deprived of access to life-saving medicine. Access to insulin must be guaranteed, not obtained conditionally from corporate manufacturers for outrageous prices. In order to give people who depend on insulin ownership over their lives, we will democratize the production of insulin. Communities will own the manufacturing systems and insulin will be produced and distributed on a local level.
We plan to keep the means of production accessible to all by making our work open source. This will also enable additional research, help build our network, and promote competition in the market. Engineered microbes and expression and purification protocols will be available to the public, including other scientists in both academic and community labs, on an open source basis. In addition, we plan to publish a roadmap to serve as a guide for others to manufacture and distribute biomedicines.
We believe that the study of biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. Community labs like Counter Culture Labs in Oakland, CA, BioCurious in Sunnyvale, CA, and Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS) in Baltimore, MD have emerged as democratic community science spaces. Open Insulin was initially founded as a community project at Counter Culture Labs. Community science projects are long-term, barrier-free research and engineering projects that allow anyone of any background to participate in science and learn to apply technical knowledge to solving community problems and meeting community needs.