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EubOPEN consortium to provide open-source cheminformatics tools for one third of druggable proteins

The chemistry services team at EMBL has announced that they will provide an informatics infrastructure to the IMI-funded EUbOPEN Consortium as they strive to develop chemical tool compounds for 1000 proteins – one-third of the total druggable proteins in the human body.

Despite the proliferation of next-generation sequencing since the turn of the century, many disease processes are poorly understood and defined. Small chemical modulators are known to be deeply implicated in many instances, but researchers lack highly selective and well-characterised chemical tools to modulate many proteins.

The newly-formed Enabling and Unlocking biology OPEN consortium between 22 academia and industry partners, is to address the generation and dissemination of such chemical modulator tools to target a large portion of the druggable human proteins categorised. Launched on May 1st 2020 with a budget of 65.8 million euros, the consortium is jointly led by Boehringer Ingelheim and Goethe University Frankfurt.

Adrian J. Carter, Project Leader at Boehringer said of the announcement “EUbOPEN will provide the wider academic community with unencumbered access to the highest quality pharmacological tool compounds for a large number of novel targets, and seed a massive community target prioritization and deconvolution effort. The expected impact should be transformative.”

As a partner, the European Bioinformatics Institute of EMBL will provide tools developed by their chemistry services team, ChEMBL. The department was set up to curate a quantitative small-molecule bioactivity database, specifically for drug discovery research. The data derived mostly from the manual abstraction of literature covers structure-activity relationship data that is widely used across academic, industry and non-profit research.

Commenting on the EUbOPEN consortium press release, Goethe University Frankfurt Coordinator added: “By the end of the project, we will have created the largest and most deeply characterised collection of chemical modulators of protein function that is openly available. The chemical toolsets and associated data will be a tremendous resource for academic science leading to the discovery of new biology and novel disease modulating targets for the development of new medicines.”

Image Source: EBI

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