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CAS and Pistoia Alliance launch initiative to boost lab safety

CAS and Pistoia Alliance launch initiative to boost lab safety

25 June 2020
Image: Chris Liverani

CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society specialising in scientific information solutions, and the Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit organisation that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, have signed 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, Bristol Myers Squibb, Glaxo Group, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, Pfizer. 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,” said 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 place 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 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 organisation can confidently and efficiently contribute to and use this critical resource.” 

“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.