CAS Makes Commitment to Enhance Laboratory Safety by Partnering with the Pistoia Alliance for Chemical Safety Library

The Pistoia Alliance

June 23, 2020

CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society specializing in scientific information solutions, and the Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit members’ organization that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, announced today the signing of an agreement under which CAS will develop and host the Pistoia Alliance Chemical Safety Library. The Chemical Safety Library is a community crowd-sourced database of hazardous reaction incidents launched by the Pistoia Alliance as a prototype in 2017. Based on an initiative submitted by Bristol Myers Squibb and funded by Pistoia Alliance members, including Bayer Pharma AG, Bristol Myers Squibb, Glaxo Group LTD, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Merck KgaA, Pfizer Inc. and F. Hoffmann-La Roche, the database currently has over 1,000 registered users from industry, academia, and government entities.

“F. Hoffmann-La Roche has been a long-time supporter of precompetitive collaboration in Pharma R&D. Cross-industry data sharing to promote laboratory safety is an excellent application,” notes Dr. Thomas Woltering, Section Head Medicinal Chemistry at the Roche Innovation Center in Basel. “We are pleased to see what started with just a handful of Pistoia Alliance member companies helping each other is expanding across the wider chemical community. The expertise CAS brings to the partnership will greatly enhance the service itself as well as expand the reach of this important effort.”

The Chemical Safety Library provides a repository for scientists to capture and confidentially share hazardous reaction information based on their experiences in the laboratory, with the goal of improving safety and reducing incidents across the chemical enterprise.

“The safety of employees and researchers is a top priority at Bristol Myers Squibb,” said Alastair Binnie, Vice President, IT for R&D at Bristol Myers Squibb.  “Based on an initial project designed to eliminate repeat incidents and increase safety at Bristol Myers Squibb, Chemical Safety Library has grown to become an important safety resource for the entire global research community thanks to the stewardship of the Pistoia Alliance and its members. We look forward to seeing this important industry database continue to grow and thrive under the management of CAS.”

CAS and Pistoia Alliance are tackling this effort because they believe that openly sharing critical safety data can make the entire chemical community safer.

“Information sharing has no greater purpose than ensuring the safety of the researchers doing the critical work of innovation,” said CAS President Manuel Guzman. “We look forward to partnering with Pistoia Alliance and the wider chemical community to grow and enhance the Chemical Safety Library, ensuring every organization can confidently and efficiently contribute to and use this critical resource.” Under this agreement, the Chemical Safety Library will continue to be a free resource for the entire chemical community, enhanced with a new deposition and search interface developed by CAS.

The Pistoia Alliance engaged with CAS to manage the Chemical Safety Library because of CAS’s unique scientific information management expertise and technology capabilities. With over a century of experience building and managing high-quality scientific databases, including the largest available curated collection of published chemical reactions, CAS is a respected authority in the chemistry space, providing confidence that this critical data can be shared confidentially and deposited and accessed efficiently.

“I cannot think of a better organization to entrust with the Pistoia Alliance’s Chemical Safety Library than CAS, and I am pleased they have agreed to support this important effort,” said Dr. Steve Arlington, President of the Pistoia Alliance. “The Chemical Safety Library is one of the most important initiatives the Pistoia Alliance has launched, and it has always attracted considerable interest from our members. We believe that every area of research can benefit from collaboration, and CAS has deep expertise in managing this type of data resource. I look forward to seeing the growth and further development of the Chemical Safety Library through this partnership.”

The hazard information that is being collected for the Chemical Safety Library is freely available to the public, and is also uploaded to PubChem, an open chemistry database sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, for additional accessibility. Anyone can contribute reaction incident information to the database, which will be overseen by an advisory panel made up of CAS, ACS, Pistoia Alliance management and member companies, as well as outside experts. Professor Richard Hartshorn, Secretary General of The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), noted “IUPAC  is fully supportive of this effort, and plans to encourage its national, company and individual members to contribute and use this safety resource once available.”

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