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European Pharmaceutical Contractor

In Silico Proteomics - Evolution of Bioinformatics into Biomagic

'Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic' -
Arthur C. Clarke, Third Law of Technology
'Any magic sufficiently reliable is indistinguishable from technology' -
Corollary

Moving from data to knowledge is a new frontier for drug discovery. But why do we need to make the change and how can we do it?

The history of drug discovery over the last decade has been one of spiralling expense with investment in sophisticated platform technologies spectacularly failing to lead to an increase in new drugs (see Figure 1). The investments in combinatorial chemistry and genomics were expected to deliver a wealth of new targets and new chemical entities (NCEs).

This expectation was driven by two main factors. The first was the insightful declaration that a US$300 billion a year industry was founded on drugs against some 500 targets (1) (although this totemic figure is probably overestimated and the real number is likely to be as low as 270 according to a persuasive presentation by Inpharmatica at the SMI Proteomics Conference in January this year). The second factor was the calculation that the human genome of 100,000 genes might yield some 5,000 to 10,000 drug targets.

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By Gareth Roberts, Co-Founder, and Jonathan Swinton, Bioinformatics Researcher at Proteom

Gareth Roberts' career to date has evolved from postdoctoral research in the field of neuropsychiatric disorders with the Medical Research Council, to building and leading a 10-strong team within Imperial College School of Medicine and as a Group Director of a discovery department with SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals.

During the course of these activities Gareth has published over 145 articles in refereed journals, written or edited six books, filed over 30 patent applications (six granted to date), gained an MBA and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a Co-Founder of two biotechnology companies active in the area of pharmacogenetics and genetic profiling (SCIONA Ltd.), and bioinformatics/proteomics (PROTEOM founded 1999).

Jonathan Swinton trained as a mathematician at Cambridge University, UK and received a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Imperial College London in 1990. Since then he has conducted research and has taught mathematical immunology, epidemiology and ecology in London, Oxford and Cambridge.

He now works as a Bioinformatics Researcher at Proteom, using machine learning and data mining techniques to understand protein-peptide interactions.
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Gareth Roberts
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Jonathan Swinton
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