Bayer agrees to share trial data, but not without a list of caveats

Bayer is joining the bandwagon of drugmakers getting in on clinical trial transparency, signing on to share some of its data with researchers but stopping well short of industry trailblazers.

The German pharma said it will grant academics, CROs and competing drugmakers access to anonymized trial data, but only for drugs approved by both U.S. and EU regulators, and only those OK'd in 2014 or afterward. The company will employ an independent panel to vet requests for data and ensure they are of scientific merit, handling the process through, the same site used by GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Novartis ($NVS) and others.

"Our commitment to clinical trial transparency reflects our will to foster scientific research and hence public health," Bayer Head of Global Development Joerg Moeller said in a statement. "Joining the electronic platform and providing access to anonymized patient-level data, protocols and clinical study reports is a further step towards increased transparency while maintaining patient privacy."

By leaving out early-stage projects and failed trials, Bayer falls short of the standard set by Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), GSK and Pfizer ($PFE), companies offering up a wealth of valuable study results to researchers. But free data from pivotal trials can only be a boon to CROs, especially those that lack sizable vaults of their own.

Industry heavyweights like Quintiles ($Q) and Covance ($CVD) trade on the fact that they have terabytes of data from trials in numerous fields, but, as more and more study data become available around the globe, small and midsize CROs that can tap pooled trial results may have an easier time competing for partnerships.

- read the statement