A pioneering public-private research initiative between GSK, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is to harness the power of 'big data' and genome sequencing to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines. The new Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV) will aim to address a wide range of human diseases and will share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.
The CTTV aims to use the almost daily advances in cutting-edge genetic research to help researchers in that crucial first step in exploring new medicines finding where to start. Target validation is about clearly defining the role that a biological process plays in disease before developing a new drug to tackle it. Currently, an estimated 90 per cent of compounds entering clinical trials fail to demonstrate the necessary efficacy and safety requirements, never reaching patients as medicines. This is often because the biological target for a drug is not well understood.
Dr Ewan Birney, Associate Director and Senior Scientist at EMBL-EBI, has been appointed as Interim Head of the CTTV. Dr Birney, who brings with him significant knowledge about genomics and bioinformatics, will develop a work programme to steer the research activities of the centre's scientists.
"The Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation is a transformative collaboration to improve the process of discovering new medicines," says Dr Birney. "The pre-competitive nature of the centre is critical: the collaboration of EMBL-EBI and the Sanger Institute with GSK allows us to make the most of commercial R&D practice, but the data and information will be available to everyone. It is truly exciting to apply so many different areas of expertise, from data integration to genomics, to the challenge of creating better medicines."
CTTV scientists will combine their expertise to explore and interpret large volumes of da
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European Molecular Biology Laboratory