Remember Syrum – the social media game developed by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI)?

BI began talking about this game in early 2011, saying it will be launched “when it’s ready” (see here and here). A BETA version of the game was launched in September, 2012, but ONLY in Europe! At that time, BI said the game would be launched in the U.S. and globally sometime in 2013. But little did I or anyone else expect Syrum to be launched in the U.S. as soon as April, 2013. But that’s just what happened. BI announced today the OFFICIAL launch of Syrum in the U.S. and the world — and not just a beta version, but a fully-tested and approved version. The following is an excerpt from the official press release.

Ingelheim, Germany and USA, 1 April 2013 – Boehringer Ingelheim has announced the U.S. launch of its first social game on Facebook, called Syrum. Syrum will be a new and evolving platform for the research-driven pharmaceutical company to inspire and educate in a changing digital world. 

In development for more than two and one-half years, Syrum has been specifically designed to demonstrate the complex processes around medicine research and development through gaming mechanics. It aims at promoting science and innovation to the digital community in a fun and engaging way. 

“The use of gaming by the pharmaceutical industry is set to become the next big thing since FDA relaxed regulations to allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising in the U.S., ” said Peter Pitty, Ass Marketing Dir at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Syrum is a fantastic example of how fun gaming can be used to mine actionable data about gamers such as what time they wake up in the afternoon, what virtual rewards they like, and what color test tubes turn them on. We’re talking BIG DATA here!”  

The goal of Syrum is to discover cures by first creating a stable medicine, conducting a clinical trial and finally bringing the medicine to the market.

“The research driven pharmaceutical industry is challenged to develop new, innovative drugs,” says John Pugilist, Chief Game Master at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Gaming is an experimental way for Boehringer Ingelheim to gain research insights that we’ve been unable to gain for one reason or another. The challenge is to find intelligent, awake, and innovative gamers who are willing to help us discover new drugs worth millions/billions of dollars for the sheer joy of gaining points, beating the competition, and receiving no financial compensation whatsoever. The best place to find such people is in the U.S. and every where else in the world except Europe.” 

Syrum is built on Facebook, and has already generated a high level of interest, both within the pharmaceutical industry and amongst gamers. More than 100 people have already signed up to play in advance of the launch via the website 

Happy April Fools Day! Just in case you fell for this.