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‘Drug Discovery for 1,000, Please’

The New York Times' Steve Lohr reports at the Bits blog that IBM is using Watson-style software as part of it's "Strategic Intellectual Property Insight Platform," a cloud-based service resulting from "several years of joint development between IBMResearch and four companies — AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont, and Pfizer." Lohr says the platform "uses data mining, natural-language processing and analytics to pore through millions of patent filings and biomedical journals to look for chemical compounds used in drug discovery." Searching for the "names of compounds, related words, drawings of the compounds, the names of companies working with specific chemicals and molecules, and the names of scientists who created the patented inventions," IBM's platform can quickly retrieve patent information, he adds. IBM is also contributing "more than 2.4 million chemical compounds extracted from 4.7 million patents and 11 million biomedical journal extracts from 1976 to 2000" to NIH's PubChem as a byproduct of its research efforts in an attempt to speed up drug discovery, Lohr says. The company’s data deposition appears "both generous and calibrated. … Most of the [chemical compound] data will be on patents that have already expired, useful for scientific research but far less useful commercially," he adds.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.