New article of IBI group at Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

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.

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Open PHACTS project extension approved until 2016

An extension proposal (ENSO) of the EU-funded Open PHACTS project ( 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.

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Compartir los datos para predecir mejor la toxicidad (Diario Médico, 10/3/2014)

El proyecto europeo e-TOX, coordinado por Ferran Sanz, director del GRIB, busca nuevos modelos predictivos del perfil toxicológico de las moléculas en investigación.

La toxicidad es uno de los problemas más frecuentes y temidos que aparecen en el transcurso de la I+D de nuevos medicamentos. Es una de las principales causas de fracaso de muchos estudios y uno de los principales responsables de que algunos candidatos a nuevos fármacos acaben en la papelera. Es por ello que la posibilidad de predecir de manera más precisa la toxicidad de determinadas moléculas resulte un objetivo importante para optimizar la investigación........ (leer artículo completo)

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Peter Cho (HTC CEO), G de Fabritiis (GRIB) and Cher Wang (HTC President) at MWC press conference


Gianni de Fabritiis at the launch of "HTC Power to Give", a new mobile based volunteer computing project

As part of the Mobile World Congress, on February 24th, Taiwanese smartphone company HTC launched, before 200 journalists from around the world, the new project HTC Power to Give. The Power to Give application can be downloaded from Android phones allows to harness the processing capacity of smartphones for scientific purposes.

Gianni De Fabritiis, head of the Computational Biophysics group of GRIB (IMIM -UPF), was the only scientist invited to the event and shared stage with the president of HTC, Cher Wang and company CEO Peter Cho.

De Fabritiis participation consisted in explaining volunteer distributed computing and its importance in research. He spoke about his GPUGRID project created 7 years ago in which volunteer distributed computing is used for molecular dynamics simulations in biomedicine. Researchers computationally simulate how certain proteins responsible of diseases such as cancer , HIV etc. interact in order to see their behavior.

According to De Fabritiis "Such simulations require much computing power. In our early days we used the computing power of game consoles, then of graphic cards and now the mobile phones are the future ". HTC opens the door for smartphone owners; voluntary participation in the advancement of science in an easy, no-cost way. Gianni De Fabritiis' group has already developed an application for Power To Give that will soon be available for Android.

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VII Conferencia Anual de las Plataformas Tecnológicas de Investigación Biomédica en Barcelona

Los próximos días 4 y 5 de marzo se celebrará en el hotel FIRA PALACE de Barcelona la VII Conferencia Anual de las Plataformas Tecnológicas de Investigación Biomédica: Medicamentos Innovadores, Nanomedicina, Tecnología Sanitaria y Mercados Biotecnológicos. El Reto en Salud.

Esta séptima edición repasará las actividades de las cuatro plataformas de investigación biomédica en 2013 y debatirá aspectos clave que marcarán los proyectos para los próximos años, además de animar la participación española en diferentes iniciativas internacionales. 

Las inscripciones pueden realizarse vía web en:

El GRIB coordina junto a Farmaindustria la Plataforma Española de Medicamentos Innovadores (PTEMI) coorganizadora de este evento.

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Animation on orphan genes

Jose Luis Villanueva and Mar Albà, members of the Evolutionary Genomics Group of GRIB (IMIM - UPF) have participated in the production of a video on orphan genes. The video explains the origin of genes, which are the main functional units in genomes. Whereas many genes are formed by duplication of preexisting genes others arise directly from genomic regions by still poorly understood mechanisms. The latter genes are called orphan genes and represent radically new inventions. The animation was produced during the 2013 edition of the Workshop Inform.animation at University of Alghero (Italy), funded by the EU Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme. It was inspired in the work developed at the Evolutionary Genomics Group of GRIB, and in other groups around the world, on the birth of new genes.

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Ignasi Buch, Premi extraordinari de doctorat del curs 2011-12 a la UPF

La Comissió de Postgrau i Doctorat de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra ha decidit atorgar el premi extraordinari de doctorat del curs 2011-12 a l’estudiant Ignasi Buch per la tesi "Investigation of protein-ligand interactions using high-throughput all-atom molecular dynamics simulations" dirigida per Gianni de Fabritiis, cap del grup de Biofísica computacional del GRIB. Felicitats Ignasi!!!

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Mar Albà has been nominated Associate Editor of Genome Biology and Evolution (GBE)

Mar Albà, ICREA researcher and head of the Evolutionary Genomics group of GRIB (IMIM-UPF), will serve a three-year term in the Editorial Board of Genome Biology and Evolution (GBE). GBE publishes leading original research at the interface between evolutionary biology and genomics. The journal was created five years ago by the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) under an Open Access model and it is positioned to set the highest standards for papers in the growing field of evolutionary genomics. It is currently 10th out of 47 journals in evolutionary biology according to ISI.

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The master in bioinformatics for health sciences of the UPF launches a new website

Come to the new website of the master in bioinformatics and have a look to the new sections of professors, student experiences, collaborating institutions, news and much more ...We also added some useful links and information about facilities for students. We hope you enjoy it!

The master in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences of the UPF aims to provide professionals and researchers with expertise and skills geared towards developing new computational strategies and IT systems that are useful in biomedical research. The master is coordinated by the GRIB.

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Analysing chemical structures can help to predict a drug’s toxicity


Project eTOX at the Financial Times article: "Science: High-tech drug research gives us a fuller picture"

The article highlights that 13 pharmaceutical companies have joined forces with academic institutions under the umbrella of the joint industry and EU-funded Innovative Medicines Initiative IMI on the “eTox” project. By sharing data on compounds they have tested in previous years, they are developing computer models to predict a drug’s toxicity, or how damaging it would be on a human, based on its chemical structure.

There is a strong spirit of co-operation through public-private partnerships,” says Patrick Wier, GlaxoSmithKline’s vice-president for clinical safety. “Everyone appreciates the complexity of drug safety and recognises that we need to work together.”

eTOX project is coordinated by the GRIB.

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