• Celgene has joined Open Targets, the public-private partnership that uses human genetics and genomics data for systematic drug target identification and prioritisation
  • Open Targets was founded in 2014 by EMBL-EBI, GSK and the Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • The Open Targets Platform allows researchers to investigate causal links between genes and diseases, and to identify drug targets for new medicines

Today, Celgene has joined Open Targets, expanding its collective efforts to transform drug discovery through the systematic identification and prioritisation of drug targets. Celgene is a global biopharmaceutical company with expertise in the discovery, development and commercialisation of innovative therapies for patients with cancer, immune-inflammatory and other unmet medical needs. Celgene’s expertise will enhance the offerings of the current Open Targets collaborators, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), GSK, Biogen, Takeda, the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Open Targets is a unique, precompetitive public-private consortium. It was founded by the EMBL-EBI, GSK and the Wellcome Sanger Institute in 2014 to systematically improve the identification and prioritisation of drug targets that will lead to safe and effective medicines.

“The combination of academic and industrial expertise, focused on the huge challenge of high quality drug target identification and prioritisation makes Open Targets a unique consortium,” says Rolf Apweiler, Interim Head of Open Targets. “We are excited about bringing Celgene’s insight and expertise to the consortium and pursuing research together that will find the best targets for new medicines. Most importantly, we look forward to sharing our methods and results openly with the research community.”

“We look forward to sharing our methods and results openly with the research community,”

Rolf Apweiler, EMBL-EBI Director and Interim Head of Open Targets

Many drugs that enter clinical trials fail and never make it to the market. This is an extremely costly and time-consuming process, with failure often arising because the biological target chosen is not understood well enough.

To address this challenge, Open Targets combines the skills, knowledge and technologies of its collaborator organisations, offering a critical mass of expertise that does not exist in any single institution. Large-scale genomic experiments (Wellcome Sanger Institute) and computational techniques (EMBL-EBI) developed in the public domain are blended with formal pharmaceutical R&D approaches to identify causal links between targets, pathways and diseases. This enables the collaborators in the consortium to systematically identify drug targets, and prioritise them for further exploration.

The freely available Open Targets Platform provides a user-friendly web interface for researchers working in many disciplines to investigate causal links between genes and diseases, and to identify and prioritise therapeutic targets for new medicines. The platform features over 20,000 targets associated with more than 9,000 diseases and has over 64,000 visits in the last twelve months.

Open Targets covers all aspects of human health and disease. The cornerstone of the collaboration is an agreement that experimental data and information gathered within the initiative will be shared openly, to benefit the broader scientific community. Open Targets welcomes new interest from companies and academic institutions that wish to accelerate the discovery of drug targets through open innovation.

Discover more

Find out more on the Open Targets website.


Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetics, immunology and neuro-inflammation.


At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Founded in 1978 as one of the world’s first global biotechnology companies by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp, today Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis; has introduced the first and only approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy; and is focused on advancing neuroscience research programs in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, movement disorders, neuromuscular disorders, pain, ophthalmology, neuropsychiatry, and acute neurology. Biogen also manufactures and commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics.


GSK – a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, research and development-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system therapeutic areas plus vaccines. Takeda conducts R&D both internally and with partners to stay at the leading edge of innovation. New innovative products, especially in oncology and gastroenterology, as well as Takeda’s presence in Emerging Markets, are currently fueling the growth of Takeda. More than 30,000 Takeda employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients, working with Takeda’s partners in health care in more than 70 countries.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is one of the premier centres of genomic discovery and understanding in the world. It leads ambitious collaborations across the globe to provide the foundations for further research and transformative healthcare innovations. Its success is founded on the expertise and knowledge of its people and the Institute seeks to share its discoveries and techniques with the next generation of genomics scientists and researchers worldwide.

This post was originally published on EMBL-EBI News.