GlaxoSmithKline has begun an experiment with open-source development of malaria drugs by releasing the structural and activity data for 13,500 compounds that may be good candidates for further study. The Wall Street Journal profiles Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD), a Silicon Valley company, that’s hosting much of the data about these compounds. Essentially CDD provides free access to a social network style interface and access to a large database, harnessing the power of groups to find needles in a haystack.
CDD’s Web service combines elements of a Facebook-like social network with an Oracle-style database. Any researcher who registers on the CDD site will be able to see graphical depictions of Glaxo’s compounds and relevant chemical and biological data. The database will allow them to upload their own data to be viewed by other researchers.
The service is free of charge. If a researcher wants to combine the data with proprietary information, CDD alsooffers a fee-based, secure version of its site that allows researchers to lock up information they want to keep secret.
Researchers including James McKerrow, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, have used CDD since 2007 to share data about diseases including malaria and schistosomiasis, a parasite that can cause liver and kidney damage. The group shared data on tens of thousands of compounds to speed up the process of picking a handful of compounds (for diseases such as malaria) that are the best options to try on animals, Dr. McKerrow said.
Demo of CDD’s software:
Read on at WSJ: Glaxo Tries a Linux Approach
More from CDD: GSK and Online Communities Create Unique Alliance to Stimulate Open Source Drug Discovery for Malaria
Link: CDD Public Access Data