Earning Portal Endorsement

The Portal will employ an expert peer-review process to vet and rate chemical probes. Key to this process is the Portal’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprising experts in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and chemical biology representing a global community and multiple professional environments (e.g., pharma, biotech, clinical centers or academia). These experts bring diverse experiences and expertise to the Portal so we can provide balanced advice to scientists who want to use chemical probes in their experiments without becoming chemical probe experts themselves.

Our review process involves four main stages: 1) probe submission, 2) triage, 3) review and 4) publication. In the first step, scientists who have generated and published chemical probes can submit their probes for consideration. An online submission form will be available to users upon relaunch (on Jun 30th) and will highlight the data that are necessary to demonstrate that a probe can be used as a specific modulator of a protein target (or a limited subset of targets). For the near term, we will only accept submissions for probes that have been published, and we will also require that submitters provide a copy of the publication for our SAB.

Portal staff will consider all completed probe submissions to determine whether they are eligible for review. We will consider each submission to ensure it meet three criteria: 1) the probe is published, 2) it has been deposited into PubChem, and 3) there are data supporting its validation in a cellular and/or in vivo model system. Probes that do not meet these criteria will not be sent to the SAB for review but will be retained in the database and ultimately published on the Portal. Probes that meet all three criteria will be reviewed by our SAB.

Using their expertise and experience, SAB members will review the submission form as well as the publication reporting the probe and will rate the probe for its use in cellular and/or in vivo model systems (e.g., mice). Probes will be evaluated for use in these two types of systems independently, meaning that it is not necessary for a probe to be validated for use in model organisms for it to be considered and endorsed by the portal. While we expect SAB members to consider similar data for each probe, including potency, selectivity, evidence for target engagement, and an understanding of the mechanism by which the probe modulates the target, we have not defined criteria that translate into Portal endorsement. Rather, we enlisted experts so they can bring their experience with and knowledge of specific protein targets and the unique challenges those proteins present to bear on their ratings. In addition to rating probes, SAB members can comment on each probe, providing guidance to users to ensure they understand the strengths and weaknesses of a probe, know about control compounds that should be used in tandem with the probe or are aware of other potential pitfalls before they begin an experiment.

After review, probes will be published on the Portal. Upon publication, users will have access to various probe pages – ranging from simple pages that provide very general information about the probe and recommendations for its use to those providing a comprehensive view of the probe’s validation data; SAB ratings (denoted with 0 to 4 stars); SAB comments; and links to related databases or sources (e.g., journals) where additional information can be found. Probes will need to receive a minimum of 3 stars from our SAB to earn an endorsement from the Portal. 

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