Drug firm boost to malaria fight
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to reveal previously
confidential data on thousands of potential anti-malaria compounds.
In addition to this, the company is to pump millions into an 'Open Lab' for
independent research teams.
The company has 13,500 molecules which have been tested against the parasite
which causes malaria.
One expert said more sharing of data could trigger advances like those that
came from the human genome project.
The way in which pharmaceutical firms guard the secrets of their drugs and
research has long been cited as an obstacle to disease research.
The latest announcement by GSK chief executive Andrew Witty, follows an earlier
decision to set up a "patent pool" where information about patented drugs could
In a speech in New York, he said that it was important to "earn the trust" of
"The measures we have announced today are characterized by a determination to
be more flexible, open and willing to learn.
"GSK has the capability to make a difference and a genuine appetite to change
the landscape of healthcare for the world's poorest people."
The data in question is the result of a year's effort by GSK scientists to
study a disease which still claims almost a million lives a year, mainly in
The company holds a "library" of millions of different molecules, and each of
these was tested against the Plasmodium parasite which causes malaria.
The result was 13,500 which appeared to have an effect on it, although
extensive further research would be needed to narrow down this list into those
most likely to succeed as new drugs.