Top biologists join Sage's open-source discovery project

Sage Bionetworks has made a big breakthrough in its quest to shatter the multitude of barriers that keep groundbreaking discovery work under tight wraps. Four top biologists have agreed to pool "raw experimental data and models on the connections between genes, proteins, drugs and disease states into a public database," according to a report from Xconomy's Luke Timmerman.

Stanford's Atul Butte and UC San Diego's Trey Ideker are among the scientists taking the leap. Sage founder Stephen Friend has garnered $20 million and plenty of support from some big drug makers and agencies to put the data into an open-source network. Friend compares his initiative to Arpanet, a consortium of universities that spurred the development of the Internet back in the 60s.

 "Four universities decided to send data back and forth," Friend tells Xconomy. "This is an equivalent project. What would happen if four groups at top universities wanted to share their data? We've asked what does it really take to do that?" 

- here's the story from Xconomy