This webinar, hosted by Sano CEO Dr. Patrick Short and featuring David Ochoa, Platform Coordinator at Open Targets, explores the significance of human genetics in pinpointing drug targets, the variety of data sets employed, target safety, and methods of intervention. It also touches on the changing nature of drug modalities and prospective avenues for future research.

The link to the full webinar is here; a brief summary is below for easy reference.

About the speakers

Patrick Short-4

Patrick Short is a Cambridge-trained PhD geneticist with experience researching large-scale genome sequencing and rare disorders. He is dedicated to driving the world’s transition to precision medicine through Sano, which combines genetic testing, recruitment, and long-term engagement in one platform, accelerating enrolment and simplifying operations for precision medicine studies.

david ochoa

Since joining Open Targets as Platform Coordinator in 2019, David Ochoa has played a key role in shaping the scientific strategy and managing key database projects. His extensive expertise in computational methods and human signalling, developed during his PhD and postdoctoral work at EMBL-EBI, aligns seamlessly with Open Targets' unique pre-competitive model that integrates academic research, public data sets, and industry research to enhance drug discovery through a genetics-focused approach.

Highlights from the webinar

How does collaborative innovation bridge academia and industry in drug discovery?

This discussion underscores the significance of fostering collaborative efforts in early discovery between academia and industry, minimising the impact of intellectual property constraints. David advocates for a multidisciplinary methodology in drug discovery, highlighting the need for cohesive teamwork among scientists, geneticists, and computational biologists to explore innovative treatment possibilities for patients. Reflecting this ethos, Open Targets actively partners with two academic institutions and five pharmaceutical companies, concentrating its efforts on key areas like oncology, neurodegeneration, and immunology.

What data sets are used in drug discovery and gene analysis?

The conversation shifts to the diverse data sets utilised at Open Targets. David delves into the array of resources they employ, such as human disease genetics, genetics of both common and rare diseases, somatic variations, perturbation assays, and animal model genetics. He explains how these varied data sets are crucial in deciphering gene causality in diseases, ensuring target safety, and determining gene effect direction. The variability of data across different diseases is discussed, and the considerations involved in selecting specific data sets for distinct research questions are explored.


This webinar offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of drug discovery, emphasising the need for collaborative efforts across academia and industry. The detailed exploration of diverse data sets used in gene analysis and drug discovery highlights the complexity and precision required in this field. Overall, the session not only reflects the pioneering work of Open Targets but also serves as a testament to the dynamic and collaborative nature of precision medical research, driving forward the search for new and effective treatments.

To learn more about the intricacies and nuances of using genomics in drug development, download our whitepaper, "Unravelling the complexities of genomics-driven drug development."


Get in touch