Medicines for Malaria Venture and EMBL-EBI Establish One-stop Shop for Malaria Drug Data

Press Release | EBI | July 13, 2012

ChEMBL, the online drug-discovery database based at EMBL-EBI, now makes it easy to access all data pertaining to compounds from MMV’s open-access Malaria Box and other open-source malaria research initiatives.

Several new initiatives have catalysed open collaboration in malaria and neglected disease drug research, for example the MMV-supported screening data recently released into the public domain by GSK, Novartis and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As a result, the need to integrate and share the resulting data has become more pressing. MMV and ChEMBL have been working together to maximise the strengths of the database and to make the data more discoverable by implementing an easily searchable format. ChEMBL’s data on bioactive compounds can now be searched according to structure, substructure, or a specific library or collection of compounds.

ChEMBL is a large repository of drug-discovery data, containing data on over one million bioactive molecules. It is developed for research into cancer, cardiovascular disease, malaria or indeed any other disease. Data in ChEMBL is made freely available to all researchers, either through a web front-end or by download of the entire database for local use.

You can now search all malaria-related data that was previously housed in the ChEMBL-Neglected Tropical Disease archive as well as data pertaining to the 400 MMV Malaria Box compounds. Future data and discoveries from published MMV projects will continue to be added to the database. To illustrate how this could be useful: a malaria researcher working in Australia could search for data on a particular compound by typing in its name or structure, and access findings unearthed by a researcher in Switzerland working on a completely different question. In this way, ChEMBL will continue to catalyse research, sowing the seeds for collaboration and avoiding expensive duplication of effort.

“By creating a one-stop shop for all the publicly available data that has been amassed through recent open source drug-discovery initiatives such as MMV’s Malaria Box, ChEMBL and MMV have made it simpler for researchers all over the world to access the details of promising malaria and neglected disease molecules and targets at the click of a mouse,” said Tim Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. "We hope the ChEMBL database will serve as a useful tool for researchers around the world and look forward to seeing the new projects and ideas it will inspire."

We are delighted to be working with MMV on this," said John Overington, who leads ChEMBL at EMBL-EBI. "The sharing and integration of data are our core interests, and to be doing this to catalyse research in the discovery of novel anti-malarial drugs is a great honour."

Contact us

An email to will reach everyone in the EMBL press office, including:

Mary Todd Bergman, Senior Communications Officer, EMBL-EBI, Hinxton, UK. Tel: +44 1223 494 665
Lindsey Crosswell, Head of External Relations, EMBL-EBI, Hinxton, UK. Tel: +44 1223 494 623
Sonia Furtado Neves, EMBL Press Officer, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany. Tel: +49 6221 387 8263

About us

The EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and is located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton near Cambridge in the. 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), (protein sequences, the genomes of animals and plants, three-dimensional molecular structures, data from gene expression experiments, protein-protein interactions and reactions and pathways. EMBl-EBI's many research groups are continually developing new tools to support the biocomputing community.

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 (EMBL-EBI), 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.