The company is giving scientists access to 13,500 compounds that it thinks might have the potential to fight malaria. In addition, it is teaming up with RNAi-specialist Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Further, Glaxo is planning to take just a 5% profit above the production costs for the malaria vaccine it's developing, when it comes time to sell it in developing countries (where most of the malaria cases are, by the way). But, and this is where I get tripped up, Glaxo says it hopes wealthy nations will step up and help buy the vaccine for the poor nations. It's that part -- depending on rich-nation subsidies -- that I have a hard time seeing as a sustainable business model.
Other companies such as Genzyme
Now Glaxo and other companies like Pfizer
And, it makes me question the nobility of Glaxo opening access to more than 13,000 potential malaria drug candidates. Are they really that valuable to begin with?
You may feel good about investing in drug companies because they're in the business of saving lives, but keep in mind that they're ultimately in business to make money. It may be a good idea to keep your donations separate from your investments, rather than trying to mix the two by investing in philanthropic companies.