SAN DIEGO—SciTegic Inc. announced in March an independent software vendor (ISV) partner program that is will allow the ISV's tools and applications to run seamlessly on SciTegic's flagship Pipeline Pilot informatics system. The result, say company officials, will be broader functionality for Pipeline Pilot users and will position SciTegic as an integrator of informatics tools by providing a backbone for specific, niche software applications and tool automation.
"We have been very successful over the past five years with Pipeline Pilot," says J.R. Tozer, vice president of marketing for SciTegic, a subsidiary of Accelrys Inc. "Now we are establishing a platform to automate and integrate other software and the data they generate to provide a more robust tool for our customers."
At the heart of the ISV program is SciTegic's Pipeline Pilot, a high-throughput, data mining and analysis informatics system. Used by researchers in drug discovery to create advanced multi-step, predictive chemical models, the system can both evaluate existing chemical libraries, as well as create new ones via its use.
The first five software vendors to join the partner program include Equbits, Molecular Networks, Virtual Chemistry, Chem-Navigator and Barnard Chemistry.
For Scott Hutton, CEO of San Diego-based ChemNavigator a cheminformatics software provider, the decision to join the partner program was simple. "Pipeline Pilot is fast becoming almost a standard with our customers and potential customers," he says. "By making our product (compatible) with Pipeline Pilot we think it will make it easier for researchers to the make the decision to also implement our software."
One benefit for SciTegic to opening its environment to other software vendors is it allows the company to broaden the capabilities of Pipeline Pilot without needing to develop this added functionality in-house. "In the past, we have developed a lot of application-specific functionality ourselves. But the community is filled with other software packages that do things we have not intended to develop," says Tozer. "We have been working with several other software vendors informally for years in developing integration with third-party codes. We feel like we have reached a point now where it made sense to formalize a program to broaden the reach we have with our platform."
As the company adds more partners to the program, Tozer believes computational chemists will be able to cherry pick "best-in-breed" applications for their computational models. "There may be seven or ten steps in some process a computational chemist wants to employ and a third-party vendor has an algorithm they like that plugs into step number five," says Tozer. "That algorithm will run the same in the Pipeline Pilot environment as if the scientist ran it manually, but by being part of the Pipeline Pilot, the tool will be automated, which is a benefit the ISVs receive because of the very nature of our product."
With more than 150 customers worldwide ranging from major pharmaceutical companies to large biotech and biopharma operations, Tozer think the partner program will be an attractive option for a number of small software houses working in the drug discovery market.