Research Publications

Review Articles

Open Targets Platform

We have developed the Open Targets Platform to provide summaries of the evidence for the involvement of a specific gene with a selected disease.

CELLector (Genomics Guided Selection of Cancer in vitro Models)

CELLector is a computational tool implemented in an open source R Shiny application and R package that allows researchers to select the most relevant cancer cell lines in a genomic-guided fashion. CELLector combines methods from graph theory and market basket analysis; it leverages tumour genomics data to explore, rank, and select optimal cell line models in a user-friendly way, enabling scientists to make appropriate and informed choices about model inclusion/exclusion in retrospective analyses and future studies. Additionally, it allows the selection of models within user-defined contexts, for example, by focusing on genomic alterations occurring in biological pathways of interest or considering only predetermined sub-cohorts of cancer patients. Finally, CELLector identifies combinations of molecular alterations underlying disease subtypes currently lacking representative cell lines, providing guidance for the future development of new cancer models.

Please see Najgebauer et al. 2018 for an explanation of the approach.

LINK (LIterature coNcept Knowledgebase)

A new tool called LINK (LIterature coNcept Knowledgebase) has been developed that allows the exploration of half a billion relations between genes, diseases, drugs and key concepts extracted from PubMed abstracts using NLP (Natural Language Processing).

Once MEDLINE relaxed their license for obtaining and analysing publication data last year, we started looking for novel ways to mine their data. We wanted to exploit the biomedical knowledge often buried in the literature to help scientists generate new hypotheses for the identification of new drug targets. For this purpose, we have built Library, an open source ecosystem comprising:

  • a pipeline that allows us to quickly run a large scale NLP analysis.
  • an API that serves the resulting data.
  • a user interface to explore this data.

Our pipeline annotates genes, diseases and drugs present in PubMed abstracts, and extracts key concepts.

DoRothEA (Discriminant Regulon Expression Analysis)

DoRothEA (Discriminant Regulon Expression Analysis) is a research resource that can be used to search candidate TF-drug interactions in cancer.

Due to their location as downstream effectors of signalling pathways, aberrant activities in upstream driver genes (even if not mutated) will cause altered TF activities, thus proposing TFs as sensors of pathway dysregulation and alternative markers. Here we study the role of 127 TFs in drug sensitivity across ~1,000 cancer cell lines screened with 265 anti-cancer compounds from the GDSC. In our first approach we studied how the TF activity pattern of an individual affects drug response and mined for single TF-drug statistical interactions. In our second approach we screened for TFs whose activity patterns complement or improve well-established genomic markers in the prediction of drug response.

Please see Garcia-Alonso et al. for an explanation of the approach.

Open Targets Principles

Open Targets is guided by the following principles:

  • We are focused on pre‐competitive research that will enable the systematic identification and prioritisation of targets
  • We are committed to rapid publication and making data, methods and results publically available as soon as possible
  • We believe in non‐exclusive partnerships that foster the free exchange of ideas and expertise

We place in the public domain all our new informatics tools, experimental methods, platforms and the data generated by our projects as soon as is practical. We do not plan to seek patent protection for IP arising from Open Targets. However, we recognise that instances may arise where this is appropriate to support our mission. Therefore, Open Targets has a Joint Patent Committee with scientific and legal experts from all of our partners that reviews all potential publications (but not raw data) prior to submission.

In practice, this means:

  • For the development and execution of Open Targets Research Projects each Member has agreed to license its Background IP to the other members.
  • All Members have agreed to license Open Targets Arising IP to each other for use in Open Targets Research Projects and for the Members’ research and development activities.
  • Any IP that relates directly and solely to an Industry Partner Compound will belong to the Industry Partner.
  • Any other IP arising from an Open Targets Research Project will belong to the Member(s) that invented it.