GSK's transparency pledge could be a boon to drug researchers

Responding to long-levied criticisms about its trial reporting, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has committed to open up its data vaults and let researchers peruse years of results good and bad. The data dump could be a huge boost for CROs investigating new therapies, but GSK has also constructed a roadblock for its most detailed information.

For starters, GSK is publishing its whole library of data on tuberculosis treatments, including 200 compounds found to be promising. The company hopes its research will help spur the development of new therapies for a disease that kills about 1.5 million people each year. That adds to the 4,500 clinical trial result summaries the company has already made public on its website, and GSK says it will continue to update that ledger.

However, CROs that want access to anonymized, patient-level data on GSK's approved and abandoned therapies will need the approval an independent panel of experts to "ensure that this information will be used for [a] valid scientific endeavor." Just what that process entails remains to be seen, but access to a wealth of drug data would be quite useful for researchers developing treatments in similar spaces.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty announced the new transparency initiative at an event hosted by the open-source-advocating Wellcome Trust, saying the company's new focus on openness is designed to push the industry forward.

"By being more open with our clinical trial data, we also hope to help further scientific understanding," Witty said in a statement. "I am pleased with the progress we have made so far to evolve our business model but we recognize there is more we can do and the new initiatives outlined today will enable us to build on this work."

- here's GSK's release
- check out FierceBiotech's take

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