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From antibody to zinc finger: an A-Z of Open Targets

OpenTargets or Open Targets? Target validation or target identification? Celiac disease or coeliac disease? As users discover our resources, take a closer look at the lexicon of terms that matter to us.

This month, we have a new term in our A-Z collection; it is time for E.

Experimental projects

Did you know that in addition to integrating multiomics data into the public Open Targets Platform and Open Targets Genetics, we also generate new experimental data in the labs of our industry and academic partners, such as the Wellcome Sanger Institute?

So we are not not just about JSON schema, scripting, machine learning algorithms or the latest cloud technology. We also pipette, grow iPS cells, create organoids, edit genomes using CRISPR-CAS9, sequence genomes and transcriptomes, and much more.

We carry out all of this wet lab work to help us (and equally important, help you!) to systematically identify and prioritise drug targets to safely and effectively treat diseases.


A snapshot of one of our colleagues in the Cellular Generation and Phenotyping labs at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Genome Research Limited.

In contrast to the bioinformatics projects, which are disease-agnostic, our data generation is carried out in three main disease domains, Oncology, Neurodegeneration and Immunonolgy and Immunity, areas with huge unmet need for therapeutic approaches.

And we are super excited that one of our first experimental projects is drawing to a close and the first paper from this work is available in bioRxiv. Mathew Garnett and colleagues have investigated gene cell fitness effects combined with genomic biomarkers and target tractability information for the Prioritisation of oncology therapeutic targets using CRISPR-Cas9 screening.

We are also integrating this genomewide CRISPR-Cas9 data into the Open Targets Platform. This synergy between data generation and data integration is at the core of our virtuous cycle of target identification and prioritisation.


We cannot wait to see this paper published!

Spoiler alert: the manuscript is currently in press, due to be published in April, just a few weeks away.

Want to know when this experimental research is published and the underlying data publicly available?

Follow us on Twitter or sign up to the Open Targets newsletter and be the first to explore this Open Targets experimental novelty!

Denise Carvalho-Silva

Denise Carvalho-Silva

Supporting drug discovery scientists, following post-doctorate research at the Australian National University and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and working at Ensembl and GENCODE.

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