Open science: the future of research? › Analysis and Opinion (ABC Science)
"Malaria is a devastating disease. In 2013 it affected an estimated 198 million people, killing over half a million, most of them children under the age of five. The World Health Organisation reported a 30 per cent reduction in malaria between 2000 and 2013 due to 'an expansion of malaria interventions'. This is great news, but emerging parasite resistance has been detected in five countries, so new medicines are urgently required. Traditional approaches to drug discovery and development are labour intensive, hugely expensive, time consuming and inefficient. Much, if not all of the process is veiled in secrecy. This means that sometimes chemists from different companies might be synthesising the same molecules, which is bad enough when the drugs do work, but ridiculously wasteful when they are found to be inactive. One way to avoid unnecessary duplication is to work in the open. In 2010, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline published the structures 13,500 of their compounds found to kill the malaria parasite. This groundbreaking move, coupled with the low market incentive associated with a new antimalarial, provided an attractive starting point for what is termed an open source drug discovery project ..."