Search targets drug firms’ data trove


A nonprofit group said Friday it was launching a project to comb the catalogues of some of Japan’s biggest drug companies in the hunt for treatments for diseases that kill thousands of people every year.

The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), set up by the central government, Japanese pharmaceutical companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said they were looking at a potential five-year commitment of more than $100 million to support research and development into neglected diseases.

The project will see researchers looking through the libraries of compounds held by drug companies to see what possible treatments they contain for tuberculosis, malaria and other illnesses that threaten hundreds of millions of people in the developing world.

Drugmakers Eisai, Daiichi Sankyo, Shionogi, Takeda Pharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbial Chemistry, will allow the fund access to their compound libraries to identify possible therapies, GHIT said.