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Search and analyze
February 2011
by David Hutton  |  Email the author


BUDAPEST, Hungary—The IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters has forged a strategic partnership with ChemAxon in which Thomson Reuters will provide its chemical IP Data Feeds, Markush Structures and patent data to users of ChemAxon's JChem chemical software platform.

According to the companies, this search and analysis solution will speed drug discovery and allow life science researchers to easily integrate critical content into their existing systems and workflows.

The Markush structures from London-based Thomson Reuters are part of the company's Derwent World Patents Index database, a source of global patent information.

According to Cindy Poulos, vice president of product management for Thomson Reuters, the collaboration makes sense because it pairs "ChemAxon, a leader in cheminformatics software for the life science industry, and Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index. Our offerings are complementary and we share the same goal: to make the workflow of R&D professionals in the life sciences industry more efficient."
According to Poulos, the Markush database contains essential data on the relationship or "families" of 550,000 patents, making it a leading source for life sciences patentability research, competitive intelligence and IP screening.

As a products/service company serving the industry, for ChemAxon there are many advantages to Markush structures, which have historically been poorly supported by informatics vendors and content holders compared to other chemical structures. As a result, there is significant potential to bring value. As a centrally deployed toolkit, Markush can be deployed easily and because the features are added to existing end user GUI, such as MarvinSketch chemical editor, the users can easily pick up Markush capability without learning a new chemical editor or requiring a new environment to be created and deployed. This also allows system architects to build workflows using other functionality to automate works with Markush structures.

Moreover, Markush structures play a central part in chemical IP/patent processes and the patent is the primary method of protecting the investment in R&D. Scientifically, storing and manipulating Markush structures represents an interesting and valuable unsolved problem in life sciences informatics. Solving complex structure issues also suggests a strong capability with "standard" (non Markush) chemical structures.
According to ChemAxon, this fits well with the company 's other offerings, discovery platform toolkits and desktop discovery applications, which are working chemical (not Markush) structures.

ChemAxon's JChem software allows life science professionals to structure and visualize chemical compounds for property prediction, virtual synthesis, screening and drug design. Through the partnership R&D end users can now research and analyze Markush structures using ChemAxon's JChem chemical software platform, a means they had no access to before. The ability to quickly retrieve this information will now allow R&D end users to save time and capitalize on R&D investment.

"The Markush partnership is a result of pull from the users and push from Thomson Reuters and is proving to be very attractive and relevant by filling gaps in the automation, of discovery IP," says Alex Driver, CEO of ChemAxon. "Long-term, we feel this technology and content will grow in relevance and usage as researchers and IP specialists realize the potential of the technology and ChemAxon and Thomson Reuters respond with features."

According to Poulos, the ability to search and visualize complex chemical patents is critical to the work of life science research and development professionals.

"To date, however, this has been a challenge, as there wasn't a tool that enabled R&D end users to do this type of work themselves," she says. "Thomson Reuters and ChemAxon are making a comprehensive worldwide database of chemical compounds widely accessible in a user-friendly, flexible format to end users."

Based in Budapest, Hungary, ChemAxon is a leader in providing cheminformatics software development platforms and applications for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

ChemAxon officials said in a statement that Thomson Reuters made the right partner for this collaboration because of the quality and extent of its content. The company is well positioned within the market with a quality brand and organization.

ChemAxon users will acquire access to TR Markush structure content and separately license ChemAxon technology to enable import and use of the content. ChemAxon will apply TR content purely for development of the features and performance of the technology to improve things going forward.

Driver says the Markush structures database has "become a vital backbone of pharmaceutical research in the digital age."

"By delivering this data directly to the end user in an intuitive, flexible format, our clients have access to the functionality and data necessary to stay competitive in today's fast-paced, complex marketplace," he says.

Poulos says the collaboration is already proving to be successful as "leading companies are already implementing it throughout their organizations, giving R&D end users access to chemical structures. The ongoing success of our partnership will be evidenced by the broadest base of R&D professionals being enabled to access this data and speed drug discovery."
Code: E021110



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