Galapagos NV: drug discovery innovator

July 24th, 2008 by dwentworth

Not long ago, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made headlines with its “Massive Cancer Information Giveaway“: a gift of over 300 cell lines derived from a wide variety of tumors, including breast, prostate, lung and ovarian cancers. The cell lines were made freely available to cancer researchers via the National Cancer Institute’s caBIG, with the goal of “crowdsourcing” the search for predictive biomarkers, making clinical trials shorter and, ultimately, getting drugs more quickly to people suffering from disease.

Now Galapagos NV, a Belgium-based drug discovery company, is following in GSK’s footsteps. The company is making freely available several proprietary databases of information about small molecules and proteins through the EMBL‘s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). With funding from the Wellcome Trust, EMBL-EBI is returning the data to the public domain — precisely what we recommend in the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data.

“This makes the scientific data that Galapagos has gathered an extraordinary gift — not just to science, but to open science,” says John Wilbanks, who leads Science Commons. “Returning the data to the public domain removes the legal barriers that prevent us from making full use of the latest technologies for data integration and analysis. The Galapagos data can now be used in ways no one can anticipate — the very definition of innovation.”

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