The CARLSBAD database: a confederated database of chemical bioactivities. Academic Article uri icon


  • Many bioactivity databases offer information regarding the biological activity of small molecules on protein targets. Information in these databases is often hard to resolve with certainty because of subsetting different data in a variety of formats; use of different bioactivity metrics; use of different identifiers for chemicals and proteins; and having to access different query interfaces, respectively. Given the multitude of data sources, interfaces and standards, it is challenging to gather relevant facts and make appropriate connections and decisions regarding chemical-protein associations. The CARLSBAD database has been developed as an integrated resource, focused on high-quality subsets from several bioactivity databases, which are aggregated and presented in a uniform manner, suitable for the study of the relationships between small molecules and targets. In contrast to data collection resources, CARLSBAD provides a single normalized activity value of a given type for each unique chemical-protein target pair. Two types of scaffold perception methods have been implemented and are available for datamining: HierS (hierarchical scaffolds) and MCES (maximum common edge subgraph). The 2012 release of CARLSBAD contains 439 985 unique chemical structures, mapped onto 1,420 889 unique bioactivities, and annotated with 277 140 HierS scaffolds and 54 135 MCES chemical patterns, respectively. Of the 890 323 unique structure-target pairs curated in CARLSBAD, 13.95% are aggregated from multiple structure-target values: 94 975 are aggregated from two bioactivities, 14 544 from three, 7 930 from four and 2214 have five bioactivities, respectively. CARLSBAD captures bioactivities and tags for 1435 unique chemical structures of active pharmaceutical ingredients (i.e. 'drugs'). CARLSBAD processing resulted in a net 17.3% data reduction for chemicals, 34.3% reduction for bioactivities, 23% reduction for HierS and 25% reduction for MCES, respectively. The CARLSBAD database supports a knowledge mining system that provides non-specialists with novel integrative ways of exploring chemical biology space to facilitate knowledge mining in drug discovery and repurposing. Database URL:

publication date

  • January 1, 2013