Researchers will have free access to chemogenomic databases developed by Galapagos under a €1.8 million licensing agreement between the Belgian drug discovery company and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

The arrangement was enabled by a £4.7 million (€5.8 million) grant from the UK’s Wellcome Trust. The Galapagos databases, which include DrugStore (known drugs), StARLITe (known compounds and their effects), Strudle (binding site drugability), and Kinase SARfari and GPCR SARfari (informatics systems for the most widely used target classes in drug discovery), will be incorporated into the EMBL-EBI’s collection of open-access data resources for biomedical research and maintained by a newly established team of scientists at the bioinformatics institute.

Chemogenomics is the study of genomic responses to chemical compounds. For the past eight years, researchers at BioFocus DPI, the Galapagos division that provides target-to-drug discovery products and services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, have been putting together 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 EMBL-EBI explained. This information has previously been licensed by BioFocus DPI to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide.

“These data lie at the heart of translating information from the human genome into successful new drugs in the clinic,” the Institute said. The data transfer will enable researchers to participate in the initial stages of drug discovery for all therapeutic areas, including major diseases of the developing world, it noted. In future the information may also help to improve the predictability of drug side-effects.

The “unprecedented” transfer of pharmaceutical data resources from the private sector to the public domain will have its biggest impact on researchers in academia and small companies on limited budgets, the EMBL-EBI said. Galapagos will also continue to use the data for its own purposes.