Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Novartis funds OA research on diabetes

Jeffrey Krasner, Novartis to share diabetes research, Boston Globe, October 28, 2004. Excerpt: "Swiss drug giant Novartis SA said yesterday it is spending $4 million to fund scientists performing diabetes research at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Broad Institute, and will make the findings public for other scientists to use. The effort, Novartis's first major initiative since moving its research arm to Cambridge last year, builds on work underway by some of the same scientists that explores the underlying genetic causes of Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes....For Novartis, which has one drug to treat diabetes and is working to expand its franchise in the fast-growing disease, the high-profile research effort is a way of forging close ties with some of its most important new academic neighbors and an attempt to try a new way of collaborating that could become a model for others in the biopharmaceutical industry. 'This is a very progressive step on the part of a private, for-profit biotechnology company,' said Sheldon Krimsky, a science policy specialist at Tufts University and a director of the Council for Responsible Genetics, a public interest advocacy group. 'It's a recognition that you can still use this research to make profitable products but the knowledge of the genes should be open and available to all users. It's very unusual.' Alan D. Cherrington, president of the American Diabetes Association, said he was unaware of any other industry-sponsored diabetes research effort in which results would be made public....'If you hide the data, you have to put up artificial barriers and your scientists have to be more cautious,' said Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes. 'I view this as the kind of work that nobody benefits from keeping secret.' " Also see the Novartis press release. (Thanks to Faster Cures' SmartBrief.)

(PS: This is a very welcome first. Novartis is gambling that this will help Novartis; we already know it will help others. Let's hope that Novartis is right --or that this kind of OA is a win-win rather than one-sided charity. If Novartis proves that giving away the research it funds is a greater net gain than locking it up, then other companies will start to follow suit. That could open another front in the funding of OA.)