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Open innovation improving drug safety evaluation

The Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) have just published a comment in the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery where they explain the excellent results from eTOX, a project that has facilitated a new model for collaboration among pharmaceutical companies, as well as between these and academia, where data and knowledge are shared for the purposes of improving the toxicological evaluation of drugs.

Apart from the results obtained, which are extremely valuable, the project is a model of Open Innovation, where various public and private stakeholders join forces and actively collaborate. In addition, it has confirmed the enormous value of the data obtained in the regulatory studies conducted by the pharmaceutical industry, and has verified the fact that exploiting these requires a significant effort in terms of extraction, standardisation, and integration.

"The eTOX project has given us a glimpse into the potential of this data for constructing predictive models capable of foreseeing effects in vivo. However, it is necessary to incorporate toxicodynamic effects and analyse the extent to which the experimental data and predictions can be extrapolated to humans. To this end, we have just launched the new project eTRANSAFE", explains Ferran Sanz, the project coordinator and Director of the IMIM and UPF Biomedical Informatics programme (GRIB).

"One of the 'intangible' results of the project is the construction of a common language between partners with different professional profiles. Today, the computing experts know much more about toxicology than they did at the beginning of the project and we have a much deeper understanding of the problems and needs that exist in this area. The toxicologists have also learned a great deal and now have a better appreciation of the possibilities offered them by advanced computer and information technologies", adds Manuel Pastor, head of the Pharmacoinformatics group at the GRIB.

An added value of the eTOX project is the development of technology that allows research results to be transferred to companies and sustainable results generated that can continue to be used beyond the end of the project.

Reference article:

Legacy data sharing to improve drug safety assessment: the eTOX project” Ferran Sanz, François Pognan, Thomas Steger-Hartmann, Carlos Díaz and eTOX (including Manuel Pastor). Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2017.

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