ChEMBLdb, an online database of information on the properties and activities of drugs and drug-like small molecules and their targets, offers information on over 500,000 compounds. The data lie at the heart of translating information from the human genome into successful new drugs in the clinic.
The database is hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). It was transferred from biotech firm Galapagos NV in July 2008 through a £4.7 million Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust.
ChEMBLdb focuses on drug discovery and is unique due to its size: information on an additional 100,000 compounds were added to the database recently, taking the number of small molecules to over 520,000. The database contains over 2.4 million records of their effects on biological systems. The data include information about how small molecules bind to their targets, how these compounds affect cells and whole organisms, and information on the molecules’ absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity.
The human genome sequence provided a molecular parts list for a human being, comprising all the genes and proteins that are encoded by our genetic blueprint. In order to develop new medicines, it is important to catalogue how each of these ‘parts’ interacts with drugs and drug-like molecules. ChEMBLdb brings together information from the interface of the genome with chemistry into a set of chemogenomic databases that can be used to help determine whether a particular molecule has the right properties to make an effective drug.
The launch of ChEMBLdb is accompanied by the release of Kinase SARfari, an integrated resource of sequence, compound and screening data from a variety of sources for the protein kinases, a key family for drug discovery.