Saturday, January 23, 2010

GlaxoSmithKline opening up malaria data a wee bit, but more needed

Robert Langreth in an article at Forbes.Com on January 20 (GlaxoSmithkline's Malaria Plan: Limit Profits, Open Labs) reports that Glaxo Smith Kline is becoming a bit more open with their data on malaria drug/vaccine development.  Apparently, they plan to open up their labs and some of their data to non profit collaborators such as Emory University.  Sounds like this could be a good first step.  But if they really want to advance malaria vaccine research, perhaps they should release their data to everyone? I get that they want/need to make a profit, but if they want to try and get credit for being open, I think they really should jump into the deep end and do something radical.  Just sharing bits and pieces of data with a few labs is not a particularly stunning move.


  1. I think this is closer to what you'd like to see happen:
    In case the link gets mangled, the basic idea is that GSK will be making a public release of the results of their huge Plasmodium screen, showing us the identities (with structures) of the 13,500 compounds that were found to kill the parasite.

  2. Just found their press release which says more about the openness:

    "13,500 malaria compounds to be made freely available
    GSK has screened its pharmaceutical compound library of more than 2 million molecules for any that
    may inhibit the malaria parasite P.falciparum, the deadliest form of malaria, which is found primarily in
    sub-Saharan Africa. This exercise took five scientists a year to complete, and has yielded more than
    13,500 compounds that could lead to the development of new and innovative treatments for malaria,
    which kills at least one million children every year in Africa.
    GSK will make these findings, including the chemical structures and associated assay data, freely
    available to the public via leading scientific websites. The release of these data will mark the first time
    that a pharmaceutical company has made public the structures of so many of its compounds in the
    hope that they could lead to new medicines for malaria."

    Though unclear exactly when where stuff will be released. Much of the rest of the press release focuses on collaborative projects where data will be open to the collaborators but not to all. So - good first step. Better than I imagined. But still not fully open ...


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