MMV and the European Bioinformatics Institute establish one-stop shop for malaria drug data

The new resource consolidates publicly available malaria drug research into one easy-to-search database

13 Jul 2012

From 13 July 2012, all data pertaining to compounds from MMV’s open access Malaria Box and other open source malaria research initiatives can be accessed and searched with greater ease via the online ChEMBL database, hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

With the advent of new initiatives aimed to catalyse open collaboration in malaria and neglected disease drug research (e.g. MMV’s Malaria Box and the release into the public domain of MMV-supported screening data by GSK, Novartis and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital), the need to integrate and share the resulting data has become more pressing.

ChEMBL is a large online repository of freely available drug discovery data that now responds to that need. It includes data on more than one million bioactive molecules that could become the next life-saving medicine for cancer, cardiovascular disease, malaria or indeed any disease.

MMV and EBI joined forces to upgrade the database to meet the needs of the malaria and neglected diseases research community. Taking the elements that work well as a starting point they re-organised the data into an easy-to-search format. The data can now be searched according to structure, substructure, or a specific library/collection of compounds. In this way a malaria researcher working in South Africa, for example, can search for publicly available data on a particular compound, via its name or structure for example, and access the findings unearthed on that same compound by a researcher working in, say, Switzerland.

The database will therefore help to catalyse research and sow the seeds for collaboration while, crucially, for neglected disease research, avoiding duplication of effort.

All malaria-related data previously housed in the ChEMBL-Neglected Tropical Disease archive as well as data pertaining to the 400 MMV Malaria Box compounds are now searchable. Future data and research findings from published MMV projects will also continue to be added to the database over time.

“By creating a one-stop shop for all publicly available data that has been amassed through recent open source drug discovery initiatives, such as MMV’s Malaria Box, researchers will now be able to access the details of promising malaria and neglected disease molecules and targets at the click of a mouse,” said Tim Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We hope the ChEMBL database will serve as a useful tool for researchers around the world and look forward to seeing the new projects and ideas it will inspire.”