2. Drug Discovery: Finding what you need

(This video can be downloaded from Media Hopper Create.)

What kind of online research do you need to do as a drug discovery company?

One type of research is called ‘drug repurposing’. This means taking a drug that works in one indication (or set of symptoms), and trying to reapply it in a new indication. We would first need to look up the drug in a database that associates certain drugs with certain targets (receptors or proteins). The targets indicate what the drug affects in our bodies. Parkure first identifies the targets that the drug interacts with in the human body, and then researches the targets against the list of validated targets for Parkinson’s disease. If a drug affects the same targets then it is likely to have some effect on Parkinson’s. Parkure can also search the known targets of Parkinson’s against any drug. Then they will use the experimental platform to test the results.

What online resources are used for this research?  

Drugbank – a database containing bioinformatics and cheminformatics information that combines detailed drug data with comprehensive drug target information. https://www.drugbank.ca/ Read more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DrugBank

Pubmed – a free search engine, range of tools and resources to support the access and use of the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. It contains information relating to specific genes or specific proteins. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ Read more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PubMed


Medline – is the U.S. National Library of Medicine® database of references and abstracts on life sciences and contains over 24 million references to journal articles on biomedical topics and offers a range of indexing services.  https://www.medline.com/

What other University support and resources has Parkure used?

Interface Innovation Voucher – This is a grant available to companies in Scotland to encourage new first time partnerships between a company and a university or further education college. The grant is used to pay an expert from the university to do highly specialised research or even develop a technology on behalf of the business. A company can approach Interface, the funding organisation, or go directly to the university research and innovation department. http://www.interface-online.org.uk/how-we-can-help/funding/standard-innovation-vouchers

Edinburgh Innovations, University of Edinburgh – There are a number of funding initiatives are available to encourage businesses and organisations interested in innovation. These schemes can cover product research and development, commercialisation of research and business growth.  http://edinburgh-innovations.ed.ac.uk/funding/

Activity: Search challenge

The challenge is to find out what proteins are affected by both Aspirin and Ibuprofen, and then identify where you can find more information about those proteins. What other information is available online about those proteins?

  1. Start your search on DrugBank to identify what targets Aspirin interacts with in the human body, and then compare it with Iboprofen. https://www.drugbank.ca/
  2. Drug names are listed using their scientific name but will also reference their commercial name in the blurb. For instance Aspirin is listed as “Acetylsalicylic Acid”.  
  3. When you find the drug scroll down until you find the “mechanism of action” which lists the targets each drug affects.
  4. Identify the targets they have in common, and then find out more using the links to other open resources.
  5. Try this with other drugs that have similar effects e.g. Clopidagrel and Aspirin.

Watch the  next video for a demo of Lysimachos Zografos at Parkure Ltd, using online research tools for drug discovery.

(This video can be downloaded from Media Hopper Create.)