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Fighting malaria, the Linux way

Big pharma’s tackling malaria this year, Linux-style. Drug producer GlaxoSmithKline has announced it’s giving designs for an anti-malarial project to the public, in hopes that volunteers will step up and help the company deliver a product to the market faster than it would be able to do alone. Glaxo’s bet is that a collaborative approach ...

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

Big pharma’s tackling malaria this year, Linux-style.

Drug producer GlaxoSmithKline has announced it’s giving designs for an anti-malarial project to the public, in hopes that volunteers will step up and help the company deliver a product to the market faster than it would be able to do alone. Glaxo’s bet is that a collaborative approach to drug design will pay off despite the financial risk the firm takes by revealing its formula.

Open-source approaches to health and science aren’t new — witness the Human Genome Project — but it’s an idea that has traditionally been confined to the tech world. If Glaxo’s experiment works, we might see a lot more of this strategy down the road.

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