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Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has announced plans to open up its data and labs to outside scientists in an unusual effort to trigger more research on malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.
The London-based company also said its researchers expect in 2012 to be able to seek approval for the first vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills a million people a year, mostly young children in Africa.
Glaxo, the world’s third-biggest drugmaker by revenue, has several drugs in testing to treat malaria as well, but it is offering scientists worldwide free access to extensive data on 13,500 other compounds that appear to work against malaria.
Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty was to announce that Wednesday, along with other initiatives to fight tropical diseases, particularly malaria.
“We’re deliberately trying to target and stimulate other people into this space,” he told reporters from The Associated Press and a few other media outlets on Tuesday. We are “trying to do something that makes a difference for those people who live in the least-developed countries in the world.”
Glaxo will let other scientists try to develop malaria drugs – free from royalties or other payments to Glaxo – from that library of compounds.
They were winnowed down from more than 2 million screened by hand against potentially dangerous blood samples containing the malaria parasite by five Glaxo scientists who devoted a year to the project, a rare effort for free in an industry focused on profits.
Copyright Press Association 2010