Search Pharmaceutical Information for Free with DrugBank

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] How many ways can you search or browse a database of drug information?  The DrugBank website seems to offer almost every possible option for searching and browsing its database of:

6789 drug entries including 1437 FDA-approved small molecule drugs, 134 FDA-approved biotech (protein/peptide) drugs, 83 nutraceuticals and 5167 experimental drugs. Additionally, 4274 non-redundant protein (i.e. drug target/enzyme/transporter/carrier) sequences are linked to these drug entries.

Each drug profile (“DrugCard”) on DrugBank has “more than 150 data fields with half of the information being devoted to drug/chemical data and the other half devoted to drug target or protein data.”  DrugBank is supported by Dr. David Wishart, the Departments of Computing Science & Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, Genome Alberta, Genome Canada, and GenomeQuest, Inc.

DrugBank contains over 6,700 detailed drug profiles, which users can search or browse in 11 different ways.  It must cost an arm and a leg to access this database, right?  Actually, it’s free.  Continue reading to learn all the options for searching and browsing this treasure trove of pharmaceutical information!

Browsing DrugBank

One of the most useful features of DrugBank is the wide variety of search and browsing options offered by the site.  Prior art searchers can locate relevant drug profiles by browsing in six different categories:

  • Drug Browse – Browse through a list of all available drugs, and filter by molecule type or legal status. User can sort results by DrugBank ID, Name, CAS Number, Weight, and Formula.
  • Pharma Browse – A list of physical categories subdivided into pharmaceutical use categories. Drugs are classified under pharmaceutical uses.
  • Geno Browse – A list of drugs, including Interacting Gene/Enzyme for each result. Filter through options SNP-ADR or SNP-FX.
  • Pathway Browse – A list of pathway names (organized under different classes) and corresponding drugs. Users can utilize a search form to search the list by drug name.
  • Class Browse – A list of drugs, organized under different classes. Users can utilize a search form to search the list by drug name.
  • Association Browse – A list of chemicals with a short description of specific functions for each result. Filter by Targets, Enzymes, Carriers, or Transporters.

Browse through the drug profiles by molecule type and legal status under the "Drug Browse" section.

Searching DrugBank

Five different search forms are available on DrugBank:

  • ChemQuery – Structure search through a structure-drawing tool (powered by ChemAxon), search using a SMILES string, or search a range of monoisotopic masses.

Conduct a chemical structure search on DrugBank, using a structure drawing tool powered by ChemAxon.

  • Text Query – Search within a command line interface, which supports Boolean operators, wildcards, parenthetical groupings, (+/-) operators, and field codes. All available codes, as well as examples of correct query formation, are listed below the search form.
  • Interax Interaction Search – Enter drug names, separated by a semi-colon and a space, to search for drug interactions. A Multi-Search, which allows the user to enter two lists of drugs, and a Food Interaction Lookup are also available.
  • Sequence Search – Enter the DNA/amino acid query sequence in FASTA format, and enter BLAST parameters.

Conduct a sequence search on DrugBank by entering DNA or amino acid query sequences in FASTA Format and entering BLAST parameters.

  • Data Extractor – Select multiple fields to search within simultaneously and view the data for selected fields for all results in HTML or Excel format.


Prior art searchers looking for relevant pharmaceutical prior art will find DrugBank to be a useful free resource that offers detailed descriptions for both approved and experimental drugs.  Users can search and manipulate this data through multiple search forms and browse options, including both chemical structure searches and sequence searches using BLAST parameters.  DrugBank may only offer a limited amount of data that doesn’t match the volume of chemical information in subscription databases like CAS REGISTRY, but the drug profiles on DrugBank each contain a large amount of high-quality information with detailed indexing.  DrugBank is an excellent supplementary tool which may yield valuable prior art through its detailed records and flexible search options.

Do you know of any other free databases of pharmaceutical information with a variety of search options?  What do you think of the information and search options available on DrugBank?  We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

Technical Translations from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.


3 Responses

  1. Dear sir,
    Please tell me about Asodamicin liquid. What is this and role in veterinary research. May be it used for animals medicine.
    Satish Kumar Rai

  2. Dear sir,
    please tell me about the anticancer drugs used for breast cancer on which active targeting is available ( either in cliniucal trials or in Market).

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