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29/02/2012 - General information

Open Phacts proved useful

Researchers from the Research Programme for Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) of IMIM and UPF are the participants in this project.

The prototype of a knowledge tool developed by the Open PHACTS Consortium has proven useful by identifying relevant information in a matter of seconds, when a traditional search could take days. It will provide information on small molecules, their pharmacological profile, pharmacokinetics, etc. from multiple sources available on the Internet.

Open Phacts (Open Pharmacological Concepts Triple Store) is a project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)*. It uses semantic web or web 3.0 technology to develop a tool called Open Pharmacological Space (OPS). This OPS will allow scientists to integrate information from several databases and biomedical bibliography, both from public and private sources searching for new therapeutic drugs and targets. Integrating both public and private data in one single system is extremely difficult right now, is very time consuming and is repeated constantly in companies, institutes and academic laboratories.

Researchers from the Computer-Assisted Drug Design laboratories, lead by Manuel Pastor, from Chemogenomics, directed by Jordi Mestres from Integrative Biomedical Informatics, directed by Ferran Sanz from the Research Programme for Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) of IMIM (Research Institute of Hospital del Mar) and the UPF (Pompeu Fabra University) are the participants in this project.

Currently there is a prototype platform ready, and when it is challenged with a simple question such as looking for compounds blocking a given target, it looks up the information in a matter of seconds, as opposed to traditional searches, where it would take two scientists working for three days. As Gerhard Ecker, the academic coordinator of the Open PHACTS from the University of Vienna mentioned, ‘The OPS system not only correctly identified the known compounds, but furthermore it found an additional drug, which was later confirmed with a manual search’. The team hopes to have an advanced version ready to test it with the full consortium on March.

* Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a public-private initiative formed by the European Union (7 Framework Programme) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) aiming to improve the drug development process.

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