Eli Lilly has launched a new initiative to discover drugs in new and unmet diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The company has launched the initiative, known as the Lilly Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative or PD2, to foster open collaboration between the company and global laboratory researchers.

Lilly vice president of discovery chemistry research and technologies Alan Palkowitz said that every year, researchers throughout the world design and synthesise compounds in university and biotechnology laboratories that are never fully evaluated as potential drug candidates.

“There’s an untapped source of ideas and compounds in the greater scientific community that could ultimately impact patients’ lives following further evaluation and development,” Palkowitz said.

The initiative will make use of Lilly-developed disease-state assays and the company’s secure web portal, to evaluate the therapeutic potential of compounds synthesised in university and biotechnology laboratories.

Findings from this initiative could then form the basis for collaboration or licensing agreements between Lilly and external institutions.