This week, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Frances Hall, Instem’s Director Scientific Solutions, as a guest contributor to the blog.

Hello! I’m excited to join you on In Silico Insider.  My name is Frances Hall PhD and I have worked for Instem for several years – I started in the GeneTox Team, enabling CROs, Pharma Companies, Universities and Research Institutes to gain value from the software solutions Instem provides for the genetic toxicology market, such as Comet Assay IV1 and Cyto Study Manager2

Then, around five years ago, I moved into the KnowledgeScan Target Safety Assessment Team and I have loved watching the industry grow and seeing our KnowledgeScan service bring real value to R&D organizations around the globe.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with KnowledgeScan, it is a technology enabled platform that can quickly and systematically review and distil millions of data records from a variety of published sources. Instem’s expert life scientists then carefully curate, review and interpret the data and present it to our clients in a comprehensive, consistent, easy to understand report format, allowing them to make evidence-based decisions.

One application of KnowledgeScan is our Target Safety Assessment (TSA) service.  TSAs help organizations to identify and assess unintended adverse consequences of target modulation.  They enable researchers to mitigate against target-related toxicities, or to prioritize targets with lower safety risks across the early drug discovery portfolio. Typically, TSAs are completed early in the drug discovery pathway and are continually updated as knowledge is uncovered.  KnowledgeScan gives clients detailed insight into the potential toxicological risks and challenges associated with modulating their drug targets, enabling them to make faster, better informed decisions.

If you’d like to learn more on this topic, I am delighted to be giving the following presentation at the upcoming virtual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting. The presentation, titled “Revolutionizing Target Safety Assessment: Technology Advancements and COVID-19 Target Case Study” will discuss how the KnowledgeScan platform has gathered, distilled, and presented the vast amount of data associated with the biological target: ACE2.   I will discuss the challenges of this data proliferation and how cutting-edge analytics drew universal themes and conclusions from the literature.

Can’t make it to SOT? Email me at and I will gladly get a copy of the presentation to you.

Best wishes,


1. Comet Assay IV – live video measurement system for the Comet Assay

2. Cyto Study Manager – data acquisition and reporting for genetic toxicology assays