Newswise — Oak Brook, IL – The June cover of SLAS Discovery features cover article “A Perspective on Extreme Open Science: Companies Sharing Compounds without Restriction,” by Timothy M. Willson, Ph.D., a noted University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) Research Professor and Chief Scientific Officer for the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) (Oxford, UK).

The article focuses on how the validation of new targets for drug discovery remains a considerable hurdle to the exploration of new and innovative medicines. For instance, although the human genome sequence was published over 15 years ago, the biological role of most of the proteins it encodes is still not known or even studied. Dr. Willson and his team outline their experience with the open sharing of small molecule kinase inhibitors as a disruptive approach to explore the biology of some of these “dark proteins.” Therefore, by leveraging the pooled knowledge of the scientific community, several dark kinases have emerged as potential drug targets.

Furthermore, the principles of open science often present challenges for pharmaceutical and other for-profit companies due to their conventional research and intellectual property practices, especially when small molecules are involved. Working within GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Willson and his colleagues overcame these obstacles by creating a chemogenomic set of published kinase inhibitors in which they gained support for the open sharing of the compounds. Their critical argument was that the public data generated by use of the inhibitors would “bake a bigger pie” of knowledge from which the company could initiate internal drug discovery projects.

“GlaxoSmithKline was a pioneer in the unrestricted sharing of kinase inhibitors to support basic research,” says Dr. Willson. “Now we are seeing many more pharmaceutical companies making small molecule tools openly available to the research community through our SGC laboratories.”

Access to June’s SLAS Discovery special issue is available at through June 20. For more information about SLAS and its journals, visit


SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international community of 19,000 professionals and students dedicated to life sciences discovery and technology. The SLAS mission is to bring together researchers in academia, industry and government to advance life sciences discovery and technology via education, knowledge exchange and global community building.

SLAS Discovery: 2017 Impact Factor 2.355. Editor-in-Chief Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN (USA). SLAS Discovery (Advancing Life Sciences R&D) was previously published (1996-2016) as the Journal of Biomolecular Screening (JBS).

SLAS Technology: 2017 Impact Factor 2.632. Editor-in-Chief Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Ph.D., National University of Singapore (Singapore). SLAS Technology (Translating Life Sciences Innovation) was previously published (1996-2016) as the Journal of Laboratory Automation (JALA).



Journal Link: SLAS Discovery