Sage Bionetworks, a not-for-profit organization established to develop an open-access genomic platform for use in drug discovery, has received a major donation from Quintiles, a contract research organization (CRO).
The size of the donation was not disclosed. The Quintiles donation is a major part of Sage’s development efforts and will enable core research initiatives and the development of the innovative Sage Commons platform.
Sage Bionetworks’ initial work will include generating integrated databases, creating tools for building and mining disease models and establishing governance rules for sharing, accessing and contributing to the data platform, all in the public domain. Sage’s concept is that human diseases could be cured more quickly and efficiently if academic and commercial researchers were able to access and integrate all available data. Mining these data should enable researchers to identify new drug targets relevant to disease biology.
The Sage concept springs from work begun at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. As part of its efforts, Sage Bionetworks will be making previously proprietary genetics data and tools from Merck accessible to interested parties with no proprietary strings attached. Assembled over the past five-to-seven years, the Merck information represents one of the world’s most coherent set of genomic data tied with clinical trial outcomes.
“There is a critical need to provide this access because genomic data has the potential to move the discovery side of the pharmaceutical industry away from the traditional competitive model toward consortium-style, pre-competitive collaborations,” said Sage Bionetworks President and CEO Stephen Friend, M.D., PhD.