Big news from Digital Science; we are donating the SureChem collection of >15million chemical structures from world patents into the public domain through the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). 

This is the very first time a world patent chemistry collection has been made publicly available, marking a significant advance in Open Data for use in drug discovery. This transfer will give researchers around the globe access to a vast new source of medicinally relevant compounds related to the curing of human disease.

SureChem, which was Digital Science’s very first portfolio company, extracts chemical structure data from the full text and images of patents. This makes it easier to check whether a newly developed drug or other product is actually novel. Previously held within commercial systems and inaccessible to most researchers, this important life science data source is now freely available from EMBL-EBI as SureChEMBL. You can explore these data at

Digital Science’s Nicko Goncharoff, Head of Knowledge Discovery says: 

“Our mission is to give researchers better tools and services and from the start Digital Science has preferred solutions that support Open Science and Open Data communities whenever possible. By placing this collection into the trusted hands of EMBL-EBI, we’re opening up an entire new class of life science data to the public that has previously been locked behind paywalls, and inaccessible for data mining. We couldn’t think of a better home for SureChem, anywhere.”

John Overington, Head of Chemical Biology at EMBL-EBI says: 

“Patents are the foundation of high-tech enterprise and innovation and form the basis of the knowledge economy. We hope that making chemical patents more discoverable in the public domain will considerably speed up the identification of promising molecules. This new source of data will be a major boost to translational research and the discovery of novel bioactive molecules. By putting all this data together in a structured way with other EBI resources, we can help increase competitive innovation.”

Academic researchers particularly stand to benefit from SureChEMBL, notes chemistry luminary Christopher Lipinski, Scientific Advisor, Melior Discovery: 

“Having the SureChem patented chemical structures freely available to researchers would by itself be an excellent idea. Having the interface through EMBL-EBI is an even better idea, since the new SureChem interface takes advantage of EMBL-EBI’s nearly 20 years’ expertise in technical and professional aspects of interfacing data sets, internal analysis and customer service to the broad genomic, chemo-bioinformatic, chemical biology and drug-discovery communities.”

SureChEMBL joins a wide array of connected life-science informatics resources at EMBL-EBI, which offers a comprehensive source of freely available molecular data. Today’s transfer opens the door to integrating disease and drug-target data in more meaningful ways, enhancing links between chemical structures and other biological data and their discoverability through the scientific literature.

Surechem Image