Open Sourcing cancer research?

In what i think is an incredibly important development, GlaxoSmithKline has decided to 'open source' their massive library of data on 300 cancerous cells taken from diseased breast, lung, prostate, and ovarian cells. I'm sure this database of information has cost GSK millions, if not billions of dollars in research time and resources.

Why are they doing it? I'm sure they thought about 'competitive' advantages to holding on to the data and mining it for their own purposes, but at the end of the day, there is a greater advantage to GSK in making this data part of the public domain. Doing so will enable other researchers to mine that same data, use it for their own research, then publish papers on those findings. It's exactly those findings that GSK scientists will elaborate on and create new drugs from. So now, instead of say 1000 GSK scientists advancing their drug portfolio, they could have 10 or 100 times that number of researchers working on it - smart move by GSK. In one swoop they help the cause to fight cancer, and their own bottom line at the same time. Gotta love Open Source!

I personally have lost many family members to cancer and applaud any efforts, whatever their motivations to help fight this disease.


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