Sanofi joins Open Targets

Unique public-private consortium to identify and prioritise therapeutic targets for new medicines using genomics, bioinformatics and traditional pharmaceutical research gains a new partner

Sanofi joins Open Targets

Open Targets logo

Open Targets announced today (29 October) that Sanofi has joined its pioneering public-private collaboration to transform drug discovery by improving the success rate for developing new medicines. Sanofi’s expertise in immunology, oncology, neurosciences and diabetes will complement the offerings of the current partners GSK, Biogen, Takeda, Celgene, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

Most compounds that enter clinical trials never make it to the market, often failing because the biological target chosen is not well understood. To address this challenge Open Targets aims to systematically improve the identification and prioritisation of drug targets for safe and effective medicines.


The consortium is a unique, pre-competitive partnership between companies and not-for-profit research institutes. Open Targets combines the skills, knowledge and technologies of its partner organisations, offering a critical mass of expertise that does not exist in any single institution. Large-scale genomic experiments (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 partners to systematically identify drug targets, and prioritise them for further exploration.

The freely available Open Targets Platform ( makes it easy for researchers working in many disciplines to identify and prioritise therapeutic targets for new medicines. The platform features over 21,000 targets associated with more than 10,000 diseases and receives around 1000 unique visits each week.

“We look forward to working alongside our academic and industry partners in order to develop better options for people suffering from serious unmet medical needs. We are excited to bring Sanofi’s scientific and clinical expertise to the table, to accelerate understanding of mechanisms and develop transformative medicines in immunology, oncology, neurology and metabolic disease.”

Frank Nestle, Global Head of Immunology Therapeutic Research Area and Chief Scientific Officer North America at Sanofi

“Collaboration is essential for innovation, and few initiatives illustrate this as clearly as Open Targets. We welcome Sanofi into Open Targets, and look forward to the exchange of insight, expertise and skills to enhance our research programme. Through collaboration we can improve target identification and prioritisation for safe and effective new medicines, which we can we share openly with the scientific community.”

Rolf Apweiler, Interim Director of Open Targets

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.

Notes to Editors
Selected Websites
How are drugs designed and developed?FactsHow are drugs designed and developed?
Producing a new drug is an expensive and time-consuming process that is subject to extensive regulation.

What is pharmacogenomics?FactsWhat is pharmacogenomics?
Pharmacogenomics is the tailoring of drug treatments to people’s genetic makeup, a form of ‘personalised medicine’.

Contact the Press Office

Dr Samantha Wynne, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 492 368

Emily Mobley, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 851

Wellcome Sanger Institute,
CB10 1SA,

Mobile +44 (0) 7900 607793

Recent News

Low doses of radiation promote cancer-capable cells
New research in mice helps to understand the risks around exposure to low doses of radiation, such as CT scans and x-rays
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative boosts Human Cell Atlas research at the Sanger Institute
Seed Networks projects will focus on specific tissues, such as the thymus, lung, liver, kidney and immune system
Widely-available antibiotics could be used in the treatment of ‘superbug’ MRSA
Genomic analysis shows that a significant number of strains are susceptible to penicillin combined with clavulanic acid