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GSK to offer malaria compounds for free

GlaxoSmithKline is to make over 13,500 compounds that could lead to the development of treatments for malaria, freely available and without patents

GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) is to make over 13,500 compounds that could lead to the development of treatments for malaria, freely available and without patents.

This is just one of a series of new initiatives announced by GSK's CEO Andrew Witty, as part of his pledge to transform GSK's approach to diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest countries.

Andrew Witty

Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline


Witty announced the new initiatives, which come under GSK's 'open innovation' strategy, in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He said: "We want to be a company that is truly a partner in addressing the healthcare challenges in the world's poorest countries, no matter how difficult they are."

He continued: "The measures we have announced today are characterised by a determination to be more flexible, open and willing to learn. We are working with world-class partners to find new business models to expand access to medicines and deliver unique solutions in all the communities where we work."

The sharing of data and resources comes under GSK's 'Open Lab' to which up to 60 scientists worldwide will have access. These scientists will be encouraged to make use of the knowledge and expertise of GSK while also working as part of an integrated drug discovery team to pursue their own projects. A not-for-profit foundation with an initial seed investment of $8m to help fund the research and facilitate better sharing of knowledge and ideas will be established by GSK.

In addition to the opening up of access to its malaria compounds, GSK has outlined its plans for the pricing of RTS,S – the company's malaria candidate vaccine, currently undergoing phase III trials in several African countries.

GSK says that the pricing model will cover the cost of the vaccine, together with a small return that will be fully reinvested into research and development for second-generation malaria vaccines, or vaccines for other neglected tropical diseases.

20th January 2010


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