Clinical trials produce tremendous amounts of data but as a rule, pharmaceutical companies rarely share. That means that while pharma companies tout their own drug claims, independent researchers are unable to look at the data to draw their their own conclusions.

There’s been a drive for greater transparency and and the technical aspects of making that data available involve analytics company SAS. The Cary company is working with pharmaceutical companies on plans to put that data in the cloud. Information would be anonymized to protect patient privacy is protected. But making the data accessible will make it available for others to review or even use use in other research efforts that could lead to more medical advances.

SAS said this week that it’s in early discussions with pharmaceutical companies that would contribute to this pool of clinical trials data. One company that has been disclosed as a participant is GlaxoSmithKline, a company that has shifted course to become one of the pharma industry’s strongest advocates for transparency. Earlier this year, GSK announced its support for the AllTrials campaign, an effort for registration of clinical trials and disclosure of the trial results and study reports.

GSK, the London-based pharma giant which operates its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, announced last October that it would create an online system giving researchers access to GSK clinical trial data. That site is powered by SAS. Patient information is anonymized and researchers can request access to the data that sits behind GSK clinical trials – both positive and negative results. Access to that data is granted by an independent review panel. GSK is not involved in the panel’s decisions. If a request is approved, the researcher is granted access via a secure, password-protected website.

“In sharing our data with researchers around the world, we hope to further scientific research and increase understanding about our medicines,” GlaxoSmithKline’s Senior Vice President for Science and Innovation Perry Nisen said in a statement. “Our goal is to see this initiative transition to a broader system allowing researchers to access data from trials conducted by multiple organizations.”

SAS said that the site that includes clinical trial information of a broader pool of pharmas would give researchers the opportunity to combine or compare information from around the world. SAS will provide tools that will help them research, visualize and analyze the data.

“Liberating this data will help advance scientific understanding and empower the scientific community to learn from the research and more quickly and effectively improve care for patients with all kinds of diseases and disorders, from diabetes to ADHD,” Matt Gross, business director, SAS Health and Life Sciences said in a statement. “The value has the potential to be greatly enhanced as researchers are able to gain access to data from multiple companies through a single site.”