IBM Corp. and four major drug manufacturers have donated to the National Institutes of Health a huge database of chemical data extracted from patents and scientific literature.

The database, populated by AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont and Pfizer, contains more than 2.4 million chemical compounds extracted from 4.7 million patents, as well as 11 million biomedical journal abstracts from 1976 to 2000. "The publicly available chemical data can be used by researchers worldwide to gain new insights and enable new areas of research," according to an IBM announcement. "It will also help researchers save time by more efficiently finding information buried in millions of pages of patent documents."

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