Glaxo Offers Free Access to Malaria Research

Company makes vast database public to help science find a cure
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2010 3:48 AM CST
Malaria kills at least a million children every year in Africa alone.   (AP Photo/USDA, File)

(Newser) – GlaxoSmithKline has opened up its database of compounds with the potential to cure malaria to any scientists who wants to take up the challenge. The move—unheard of in the pharmaceutical industry—comes after company scientists spent a year screening all 2 million compounds in the company's library for those most likely to lead to a cure for the disease.

"To my knowledge nobody's ever put confirmed-hit structures into the public domain," Glaxo chief executive Andrew Witty tells the Guardian. "I think it's a significant contribution to give scientists around the world 13,500 new opportunities to start research." Witty has challenged other companies to follow Glaxo's lead on opening up research into diseases in which market forces are unlikely to lead to breakthroughs.

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