ChEMBL lists various properties at pages for substances. I would like to copy some of the data that resides under "Max phase for indication" over to Wikidata. For that it would be good to know the exact definition that ChEMBL uses for "Max phase for indication". Unfortunately I can't find it on their website. Is a definition available somewhere?

  • $\begingroup$ @Gerhard OK, I see your point. I'll retract my close vote. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Aug 30, 2016 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


This refers to the phase a compound has "achieved" in a clinical trial.

Phases are typically ordered from 1 to 4 (although phases 1-3 are most talked about, as they are needed to bring a drug to market):

Phase 1: Testing of drug on healthy volunteers for dose-ranging

Phase 2: Initial testing of drug on patients to assess efficacy and safety

Phase 3: Testing of drug on patients to assess efficacy, effectiveness and safety (larger test group)

Finally, there is Phase 4 (referred to in your example), which is after a drug has been approved (by e.g. the FDA or the EMEA): here, the effects of a drug while used on the general patient population are monitored.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phases_of_clinical_research

Your example has been approved (i.e. it can be brought to market, or might already be available), while others might still be in ongoing clinical trials. Others might have been "killed" earlier due to e.g. toxicity or side effects. Or have not even entered clinical trials (which would be the majority of compounds).


  • $\begingroup$ This answer partly tells me what I already know and partly is wrong and doesn't answer the question. The "max phase" is "4 (Approved)" but that's not what's written in the "Max phase for indication" line. My example scores differently for different illnesses for the "Max phase for indication". More importantly the Wikipedia article doesn't tell me whether ChEMBL only counts FDA or EMA registered trials or whether it counts trials more broadly. $\endgroup$
    – Christian
    Aug 30, 2016 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Christian: I'd suggest emailing EBI's helpdesk in this case, as they will be the only ones who can give you a definite answer. $\endgroup$
    – Gerhard
    Aug 31, 2016 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Christian This post got a community bump so I'll weigh in with my understanding: Gerhard's answer seems to be right on, and I don't see anything besides numbers 1-4 in the column you are talking about. Indeed, this is different for different indications: in your example, Risperidone has been in phase 4 trials for anorexia, but only in a phase 2 trial for cocaine dependence. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Dec 28, 2016 at 23:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .