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GlaxoSmithKline to Open its Clinical Trial Data

Bank vault door (BillMcChesney/Flickr)The global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline based in London will make available detailed data from its clinical trials for testing new drugs. The company will also make available 200 compounds from its library with potential for inhibiting tuberculosis and double the funding for its Open Lab project in Spain.

GlaxoSmithKline will create a system that makes it possible for researchers to access the detailed anonymous patient-level data in the results of clinical trials of its approved medicines, as well as drug candidates that were discontinued. Researchers will be asked to first submit requests for these data, which will be reviewed for scientific merit by an independent panel of experts, before being granted access through a secure Web site. Researchers can already access summary data on some 4,500 of the company’s clinical trials.

The company says it hopes this announcement will encourage other companies sponsoring clinical trials to join in a broader system to enable greater access to industry data. GlaxoSmithKline CEO Sir Andrew Witty noted at a meeting hosted by the Wellcome Trust in London that “the complexity of the science and the scale of the challenge mean that we cannot solve these problems alone. We need to take a different approach — one focused on partnership, collaboration and openness.”

At the meeting, Witty said his company would make available 200 promising hits, screened from its library of some 2 million compounds, that show signs of activity against tuberculosis. The process used and the resulting compounds will be published in a scientific journal. World Health Organization says tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2010, says WHO, tuberculosis afflicted some 8.8 million people causing 1.4 million deaths.

GlaxoSmithKline also plans to double the funding to its Open Lab project in Tres Cantos, Spain, providing another £5 million ($US 8 million). The Open Lab began in 2010 to allow independent researchers access to GlaxoSmithKline facilities and resources to advance research on diseases of the developing world. The company says 16 current projects at Open Lab are examining tuberculosis, malaria, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and sleeping sickness.

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Photo: Bill McChesney/Flickr

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