Reviewed by Susan Boyd, CompChem SolutionsUK

Over recent years, new tools to store and retrieve corporate chemical and biological database information have been thin on the ground, in a market sector dominated by well-established players. Dotmatics has taken a fresh look at the whole area of scientific information management, and has developed novel, integrated web-based products for data browsing and querying (Browser); project document management (Gateway); and competitor intelligence analysis using text mining (Eye). 

Browser is a web-based tool for querying, browsing and visualising chemical and biological databases, whether large or small, and has been thoughtfully designed with input from scientists along the way. As such, it is a flexible tool, enabling almost any view of the data to be created. Example views include 2D/3D scatter plots, tabular displays, pivoted displays, bar charts etc. Its intuitive interface is easy to use and administer, and Browser integrates with any chemical cartridge or can be offered complete with a structure searching facility. One major plus of the system is the speed and scalability of the search tools, which return almost instantaneous results on even very large datasets.  

Gateway was designed for storage of project-based documentation such as reports, presentations and results. Indeed, it can also serve as a tool to enable such information to be shared securely with trusted external partners. One useful feature is the ability of the system to email automatically key project scientists whenever new data become available, so chemists will no longer need to hone those ’hovering-over-biologists’ techniques to such perfection. 

Integration between Browser, Gateway and Eye, is in-built and all three systems can also integrate with existing in-house databases and tools, including molecular modelling applications, structure drawing software and document management systems for maximum flexibility.  

Although all three systems were originally built and refined within a major pharmaceutical company they are now used widely by pharma companies, biotechs and academic institutes alike, and have become particularly popular with scientists for their ease of use and flexibility.  

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