Information technologies already have a key role in pharmaceutical research but achieving substantial advances in their use and effectiveness will depend on overcoming current challenges in sharing, integrating and jointly analyzing the range of data generated at different stages of the R&D process. These challenges are related to the complexity and heterogeneity of biomedical data, the need to establish relevant, widely accepted and openly available data standards and the lack of integration of knowledge from different disciplines and stages of the R&D process. Overcoming these challenges was the subject of a debate in Brussels on July 2013 with the participation of experts and stakeholders led by Ferran Sanz, Director of the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics.
The key points of the debate have been collected in the article “Integrative knowledge management to enhance pharmaceutical R&D” published in the prestigious Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. In the article, some initiatives to overcome these problems are discussed, which will be key for establishing knowledge management strategies in pharmaceutical R&D that efficiently exploit the increasing availability of novel biomedical data and learn from previous experience, thus enabling a more efficient search for innovative, effective and safe medicines.
An extension proposal (ENSO) of the EU-funded Open PHACTS project (www.openphacts.org) has been very positively evaluated by a panel of independent experts and has been approved by the IMI Government Board for receiving aditional funding. The strong consensus of the reviewers is that Open PHACTS is a well-run and successful collaborative project that deserves further support. The planned extension program of 18 months (until 2016) will address several new areas including new use cases: (i) target validation and hypothesis generation, (ii) personalised healthcare and (iii) use cases across IMI projects. These new areas are fully supported and are seen to add considerable extra value to the project.
GRIB participates in the Open PHACTS project as coordinator of one of the workpackages.
Integrating bioinformatics and chemoinformatics approaches for the development of expert systems allowing the in silico prediction of toxicities. European project funded by IMI, extended recently until 2016 and coordinated by the GRIB.