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Open Targets: Integrating genetics and functional biology data to identify and prioritise gene targets for various diseases


Drug discovery is a lengthy process, typically more than a decade from initial discovery stage to when the drug reaches the market. The lengthy of timeline and low success rate (~10%) makes this process extremely costly and highly risky. From historical data, lack of safety in pre-clinical stages and/or lack of efficacy at Phase II & III of clinical trials are the main contributors of the high failure rate. To address this challenge, Open Targets, an academia and industry partnership was formed in 2014, with the primary objective of systematic identification, prioritisation and validation of drug targets and ultimately increasing the odds of success of drug discovery programs across therapeutic areas. The Open Targets consortium currently consists of five leading global institutions: Biogen, EMBL-EBI, GSK, Takeda and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Open Targets has two major areas of work. The first is a set of experimental projects that generate new biological evidence using human cell models (e.g. organoids, iPSCs) and genome editing (CRISP/Cas9) to identify drug targets for three main therapeutic areas, oncology, neurodegeneration and immunology. Secondly, the web application platform integrates and visualises publicly available biological evidence with regards to target-disease associations from GWAS Catalog, Genomics England, PheWAS, ClinVar, ExpressionAtlas, UniProt, ChEMBL, EPMC and many other sources. We also provide an association score, which takes into account the observed frequency, experiment confidence, and the likely strength of the effect of the target on the disease. The platform supports both target and disease-centric workflows with also the capability to enable searches for drugs and phenotypes matching targets or diseases. currently is updated every two months, in our latest February 2018 release, we have information on 20,974 targets; 9,728 diseases; supported by 5,905,247 evidence giving 2,306,670 target-disease associations. In additional to the intuitive graphical user interface, users can access the data programmatically via the REST-API or R/Python API clients; Full download of the entire dataset is also available. is released under open source Apache License version 2.0 aiming at users from both academia and industry. We believe that the platform enables biomedical researchers to discover and prioritise biological targets for various therapies and increase the likelihood of a successful drug discovery story.



Ong Chuang Kee
Data Integration Manager
OpenTargets, European Molecular Biology Laboratory European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)


Chuang Kee has a Bachelor(Hons) in Information Technology from Multimedia University and a Master in Bioinformatics from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.


Speaker Biodata:

Chuang Kee is a proven research and informatics leader in the lifescience and pharma space with hands on experience using computational and informatics platforms for life science research and drug discovery applications. In his role as Data Integration Manager at OpenTargets (a collaboration between EBI, GSK, Sanger Institute, Biogen & Takeda), Chuang Kee manages data providers across various different EBI teams, and leads the data integration efforts. Chuang Kee join OpenTargets from Ensembl, one of the most successful large-scale bioinformatics project in history. Most recently he was the Senior Technical Officer in the Ensembl’s production team, responsible for the backend large scale genomics processing pipelines, production infrastructure development, data coordination among various sub-teams to ensure timely delivery of Ensembl releases consist of thousand genomes. Before Ensembl, Chuang Kee was the Principal Scientist, VP at Sime Darby Technology Center. He headed the bioinformatics, data analysis department whose efforts were geared toward enhancing palm oil yield productivity via various cutting-edge high throughput assays such as microarrays and NGS. Prior to joining SDTC, Chuang Kee was the Senior Associate Scientists at Eli Lilly. He leads various cross functional, disciplines drug discovery informatics projects to support target identifications and validation in a variety of therapeutic areas including oncology, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. While there, he joined the SEQC, a consortium aim to develop best practices and protocol in terms of analyzing the huge wave of next generation sequencing data. He then leads the Eli Lilly effort to develop an in-house comprehensive NGS data analysis platform to serve various drug discovery unit within the company. Before Eli Lilly he was with Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, Scotland working on the Mouse Brain Atlas project.


July 2


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Auditorium 6, Perdana University
Block B, MAEPS Building, MARDI Complex, Jalan MAEPS Perdana
Serdang, Selangor 43400 Malaysia


+603-8941 8646

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