Creating a cheminformatics connection

University of Cambridge selects IDBS as its data management provider and commences an R&D collaboration

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CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—The University of Cambridge has selected IDBS as its data management provider and has entered into a collaboration in which the university will use IDBS' electronic lab notebook and jointly develop and commercialize informatics tools with the company.

The R&D initiative, announced in June, will provide both organizations with significant cheminformatics assets and opportunities.

According to Chris Molloy, vice president of corporate development at IDBS, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge will deploy his company's E-WorkBook and IDBS' suite of chemistry technologies across its broad spectrum of research areas, and will use the system as a platform for many of its ongoing national and international collaborative programs.

Molloy points out that IDBS and the Department of Chemistry will also set up a joint research and development effort, which will play a significant role in bringing many of the most promising new cheminformatics technologies to the market through IDBS products.

"The University of Cambridge Department of Chemistry is one of the most highly rated departments of chemistry in the entire world," he says. "We are attracted by the quality of their chemistry, the breadth of their chemistry and the efforts they put behind their chemistry."

Long a leader in semantic chemistry technologies and the use and development of Chemical Mark-up Language (CML), the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge will tap these areas in its use and ongoing development of IDBS' chemical technology platform through the collaboration. It also will encompass many of these important new areas, including new approaches to structure authoring, drawing and representation, annotation, context-rich chemical ontologies, polymer support and the application of the electronic workbook environment as a tool to enhance research excellence.

Neil Kipling, founder and CEO of IDBS, points out that a comprehensive, long-term relationship with the University of Cambridge's Department of Chemistry proves the existing strength of the E-WorkBook platform for chemistry and offers unparalleled potential for development of our chemistry technologies for the future.

"We are delighted to be chosen as the data management platform for the department and to be working so closely with world leaders in cheminformatics," he adds.

Cambridge Professor Steven Ley, CBE, FRS, says professional management of chemical information is now essential in a modern laboratory.

"This partnership will provide the environment whereby experimental data is captured and retained in such a way that it can be searched electronically by its chemical context," he says. "It provides the opportunity to apply advanced chemical informatics methods, many of which have been developed in this laboratory, to extract chemical information. IDBS was chosen as a partner not only for the power and functionality of their software and flexibility to integrate with utilities developed at Cambridge, but also their willingness to cooperate in the development of novel solutions to underpin chemistry research programs."

In addition to providing data management options to Cambridge, Molloy said the deal provides a great opportunity to work with them in a joint R&D effort.

"Our solutions will be used to capture, secure and retrieve all research data that is generated within the department," Molloy said.

A steering committee has been developed through the collaboration to handle the commercialization of any informatics tools developed through the collaboration.
Ultimately, the success of the collaboration will be measured in what it brings to the client, according to Molloy.

"We measure success in terms of what our clients are getting in terms of value from the solutions," he says. "We do that by talking to the clients and listening to their feedback. Adoption by other groups at the university would also be another measure."

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