Using the BioAssay Ontology for analyzing high-throughput screening data

Linda Zander Balderud, David Murray, Niklas Larsson, Uma Vempati, Stephan C. Schürer, Marcus Bjäreland, Ola Engkvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


High-throughput screening (HTS) is the main starting point for hit identification in drug discovery programs. This has led to a rapid increase of available screening data both within pharmaceutical companies and the public domain. We have used the BioAssay Ontology (BAO) 2.0 for assay annotation within AstraZeneca to enable comparison with external HTS methods. The annotated assays have been analyzed to identify technology gaps, evaluate new methods, verify active hits, and compare compound activity between in-house and PubChem assays. As an example, the binding of a fluorescent ligand to formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1, involved in inflammation, for example) in an in-house HTS was measured by fluorescence intensity. In total, 155 active compounds were also tested in an external ligand binding flow cytometry assay, a method not used for in-house HTS detection. Twelve percent of the 155 compounds were found active in both assays. By the annotation of assay protocols using BAO terms, internal and external assays can easily be identified and method comparison facilitated. They can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different assay methods, design appropriate confirmatory and counterassays, and analyze the activity of compounds for identification of technology artifacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-415
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 25 2015


  • assay design
  • BioAssay Ontology
  • detection technology
  • high-throughput screening
  • PubChem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology


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