A community computational challenge to predict the activity of pairs of compounds

Mukesh Bansal, Jichen Yang, Charles Karan, Michael P. Menden, James C. Costello, Hao Tang, Guanghua Xiao, Yajuan Li, Jeffrey Allen, Rui Zhong, Beibei Chen, Minsoo Kim, Tao Wang, Laura M. Heiser, Ronald Realubit, Michela Mattioli, Mariano J. Alvarez, Yao Shen, Daniel Gallahan, Dinah SingerJulio Saez-Rodriguez, Yang Xie, Gustavo Stolovitzky, Andrea Califano, Jean Paul Abbuehl, Russ B. Altman, Shawn Balcome, Ana Bell, Andreas Bender, Bonnie Berger, Jonathan Bernard, Andrew A. Bieberich, Giorgos Borboudakis, Christina Chan, Ting Huei Chen, Jaejoon Choi, Luis Pedro Coelho, Chad J. Creighton, Will Dampier, V. Jo Davisson, Raamesh Deshpande, Lixia Diao, Barbara Di Camillo, Murat Dundar, Adam Ertel, Chirayu P. Goswami, Assaf Gottlieb, Michael N. Gould, Jonathan Goya, Jian Peng, Cellworks Group, NCI-DREAM Community

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent therapeutic successes have renewed interest in drug combinations, but experimental screening approaches are costly and often identify only small numbers of synergistic combinations. The DREAM consortium launched an open challenge to foster the development of in silico methods to computationally rank 91 compound pairs, from the most synergistic to the most antagonistic, based on gene-expression profiles of human B cells treated with individual compounds at multiple time points and concentrations. Using scoring metrics based on experimental dose-response curves, we assessed 32 methods (31 community-generated approaches and SynGen), four of which performed significantly better than random guessing. We highlight similarities between the methods. Although the accuracy of predictions was not optimal, we find that computational prediction of compound-pair activity is possible, and that community challenges can be useful to advance the field of in silico compound-synergy prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1222
Number of pages10
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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