At the forefront of all drug discovery efforts are the identification of human proteins whose modulation (activation/inhibition) can reverse or arrest disease development. Before pharma selects such a drug target for further development, the chance of success is determined based on several criteria. The safety of a target, when interacting with a drug, is one of these criteria and is performed during a target safety assessment (TSA). In collaboration with pharma, TNO has developed the web-based platform TargetTri. This platform uses text- and data-mining and underlying artificial intelligence algorithms to support TSAs. The platform facilitates the effective extraction and representation of data from public databases and literature abstracts for any given drug target. TargetTri is already used by toxicologists from four mid-size pharma companies and is currently tailored to specific usage and specific research disciplines, like biopharmaceutical companies. However, the aim is to grow the platform with new customers, in part by expanding to other research disciplines and company types.
Our client, TNO, has asked us to investigate the ways that TargetTri can produce more structured, reliable and informative data to aid the TSA during the drug discovery procedure, with long-term hopes of expanding their client-base by the end of the year. In order to expand the client base of TargetTri, the platform itself and the type of customer need to be diversified. We will challenge our business analysis and communication skills by comparing competitors, interviewing and surveying existing and prospective customers, as well as connecting the platform to its respective theoretical network in order to assess expanding possibilities. Based on this information, our team will dive into applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, and how we can implement state-of-the-art AI techniques to improve the platform performance, and tailor it’s functions to the diverse needs of potential clients. By the end of June, our group will have formulated well-grounded advice on how to effectively expand the client base and improved text- and data-mining and underlying artificial intelligence algorithms to support TSAs on the platform of TargetTri.