AstraZeneca is offering unprecedented access to preclinical data from a huge batch of its medicines as part of a crowd-sourcing challenge to find new combination treatments for cancer.

The firm is opening the door to results from around 11,500 tested drug combinations measuring cell viability over 118 therapies and 85 cancer cell lines, and monotherapy drug response data for each drug and cell line. 

In parallel, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is also making genomic data available for the same cell lines, offering researchers a unique data set from which to seek out combinations with the most synergistic potential.

Scientists can take part in the open-innovation competition via the DREAM Challenge programme, a crowd-sourcing initiative set up in 2006 to examine fundamental questions in biology and medicine using computational approaches. 

The winners will have their predictions for the best combinations of cancer drugs based on their properties submitted for publication in the journal Nature Biotechnology.