DOI: 10.1093/database/baad080 ISSN: 1758-0463

Overview of DrugProt task at BioCreative VII: data and methods for large-scale text mining and knowledge graph generation of heterogenous chemical–protein relations

Antonio Miranda-Escalada, Farrokh Mehryary, Jouni Luoma, Darryl Estrada-Zavala, Luis Gasco, Sampo Pyysalo, Alfonso Valencia, Martin Krallinger
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Information Systems


It is getting increasingly challenging to efficiently exploit drug-related information described in the growing amount of scientific literature. Indeed, for drug–gene/protein interactions, the challenge is even bigger, considering the scattered information sources and types of interactions. However, their systematic, large-scale exploitation is key for developing tools, impacting knowledge fields as diverse as drug design or metabolic pathway research. Previous efforts in the extraction of drug–gene/protein interactions from the literature did not address these scalability and granularity issues. To tackle them, we have organized the DrugProt track at BioCreative VII. In the context of the track, we have released the DrugProt Gold Standard corpus, a collection of 5000 PubMed abstracts, manually annotated with granular drug–gene/protein interactions. We have proposed a novel large-scale track to evaluate the capacity of natural language processing systems to scale to the range of millions of documents, and generate with their predictions a silver standard knowledge graph of 53 993 602 nodes and 19 367 406 edges. Its use exceeds the shared task and points toward pharmacological and biological applications such as drug discovery or continuous database curation. Finally, we have created a persistent evaluation scenario on CodaLab to continuously evaluate new relation extraction systems that may arise. Thirty teams from four continents, which involved 110 people, sent 107 submission runs for the Main DrugProt track, and nine teams submitted 21 runs for the Large Scale DrugProt track. Most participants implemented deep learning approaches based on pretrained transformer-like language models (LMs) such as BERT or BioBERT, reaching precision and recall values as high as 0.9167 and 0.9542 for some relation types. Finally, some initial explorations of the applicability of the knowledge graph have shown its potential to explore the chemical–protein relations described in the literature, or chemical compound–enzyme interactions.

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