[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 31-Aug-2011
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Contact: Mary Bergman
European Molecular Biology Laboratory

MIABE standard opens up new opportunities in drug discovery

Minimum information about a bioactive entity

AUDIO: This audio file is a brief interview with MIABE coauthors Sandra Orchard, John Overington, Dominic Clark and Christoph Steinbeck of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute. They briefly discuss the potential impact...

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An international consortium of pharmaceutical companies, public and commercial data providers and academic groups has agreed on a new standard for describing the effect of a compound on a biological entity. Published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, the Minimum Information about a Bioactive Entity (MIABE) standard makes it possible to enhance the interchange of public data on drug discovery success and attrition.

Every day, pharma, biotech and academic groups generate enormous quantities of data about the biological properties of molecules such as drugs, pesticides and food additives. However, not all useful data are reported. This can lead to fruitless repetition of work, wasting time, energy and resources.

A deeper understanding of what makes successful drugs work can be gained by putting together data from a large number of drug discovery programmes. But to analyse these data properly, they need to be comparable. At present, crucial data are often missing from the published literature or are reported in an unstructured format.

MIABE reporting guidelines will allow the scientific community to capture more information about bioactive compounds, and to use that information for better design.

"We hope that MIABE will make possible an order-of-magnitude increase in the amount of data available for analysis," explained Dr John Overington, who heads the ChEMBL group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). "Experience with other standards has shown that as more groups come to adopt them, the amount of useable data available to researchers snowballs."

"The increased availability of standards-compliant data will help companies to streamline their decision-making processes," said Dr Dominic Clark, who coordinates the Industry Programme at EMBL-EBI. "Industry is becoming increasingly reliant on data in the public domain. Having a set of principles and standards will make data integration simpler and help to control costs."

"This new standard will bring us a wealth of well curated data about the biological targets of bioactive molecules a very timely initiative for the EMBL-EBI's current expansion in the area of metabolism and metabolomics," added Dr Christoph Steinbeck, who heads the cheminformatics team at EMBL-EBI.

MIABE is the result of a precompetitive project that originated in the EMBL-EBI Industry Programme. The ideas were originally developed in a series of drug-discovery research workshops, and the outcome will benefit industrial and academic communities alike.


Source article: Orchard, S., Al-Lazikani, B., Bryant, S., et al. (2011) Minimum Information About a Bioactive Entity (MIABE). Nat Rev Drug Discov 10, 661-669. Published online 31 August. doi:10.1038/nrd3503. http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v10/n9/abs/nrd3503.html

About EMBL

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a basic research institute funded by public research monies from 20 member states (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and associate member state Australia. Research at EMBL is conducted by approximately 85 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. The Laboratory has five units: the main Laboratory in Heidelberg, and Outstations in Hinxton (the European Bioinformatics Institute), Grenoble, Hamburg, and Monterotondo near Rome. The cornerstones of EMBL's mission are: to perform basic research in molecular biology; to train scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to offer vital services to scientists in the member states; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and to actively engage in technology transfer activities. Around 190 students are enrolled in EMBL's International PhD programme. Additionally, the Laboratory offers a platform for dialogue with the general public through various science communication activities such as lecture series, visitor programmes and the dissemination of scientific achievements. www.embl.org


The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and is located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton near Cambridge (UK). The EBI grew out of EMBL's pioneering work in providing public biological databases to the research community. It hosts some of the world's most important collections of biological data, including DNA sequences (ENA), protein sequences (UniProt), animal genomes (Ensembl), three-dimensional structures (the Protein Databank in Europe), data from gene expression experiments (ArrayExpress), protein-protein interactions (IntAct) and pathway information (Reactome). The EBI hosts several research groups and its scientists continually develop new tools for the biocomputing community. www.ebi.ac.uk

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