Open PHACTS tool shows early promise

A prototype of a novel data mining tool developed by IMI project Open PHACTS has proven its worth, identifying relevant information in just seconds, while a traditional human search took days. Researchers of different laboratories of GRIB (Computer assisted Drug Design, Chemogenomics and Integrative Bioinformatics) are participants of this project. Open PHACTS is using semantic web technology to develop a tool called the Open Pharmacological Space (OPS). The OPS will allow scientists to analyse diverse databases and texts from both public and private sources in their hunt for new drugs and drug targets. A prototype platform is now ready, and when challenged with a simple query (to find compounds that block a given drug target), it delivered the information in a matter of seconds. In contrast, a traditional search took two scientists three working days each. ‘The OPS system not only correctly identified all compounds, it also found one additional drug, which was later on confirmed in a manual search,’ commented Open PHACTS academic coordinator, Gerhard Ecker of the University of Vienna. The team hopes to have a more advanced version ready for the full consortium to test by March.

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