Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, February 18, 2008

Open data to accelerate drug discovery

Andrea Anderson, Structural Genomics Consortium Head Urges Open Access to Boost Drug Development, GenomeWeb Daily News, February 18, 2008.  Excerpt:

Research collaborations, transparency, and data in the public domain are essential to new drug development, according to a structural biologist who spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting here on Saturday.

The University of Toronto’s Aled Edwards, who is also the director and the chief executive officer of a not-for-profit group called the Structural Genomics Consortium, warned that the predominant methods of drug research and discovery are too patent heavy, leading to duplicated effort and lost opportunities for significant productivity....

“Intellectual property is killing the process of drug discovery,” [Edwards said].

Edwards said there is hope for structural genomics in aiding drug development — but only if academia, industry, and funding bodies collaborate and keep new structural data accessible to all researchers who might be interested in using it.

The Structural Genomics Consortium, formed in 2004, is an international organization with centers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. It was created with the goal of determining the three dimensional structure of all medically relevant proteins through collaborations and partnerships....

At the moment, Edwards noted, the SGC has $30 million in funding from groups as varied as the Canadian government and pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and Novartis.

And, like the NIH-funded Protein Structure Initiative, the Structural Genomics Consortium puts a great deal of emphasis on keeping data in the public domain. To date, the group has reportedly contributed to adding more than 500 new protein structures to the Protein Data Bank....