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More exacting extracting
February 2007
by Lisa Espenschade  |  Email the author


SAN FRANCISCOŚReel Two Inc., and Advanced Chemistry Development, Inc., (ACD/Labs) have established a new collaboration that they believe will result in more accurate conversion of chemical names extracted from patent texts into chemical structures. Under the open-ended collaboration, Reel Two has incorporated ACD/Labs' ACD/Name to Structure Batch nomenclature software into its SureChem portal and will offer it as an option with SureChem Enterprise. "What SureChem does is it indexes the full text of all major patent data sources for all of the chemical names in the text and converts them, where possible, to structures," says Nicko Goncharoff, senior vice president at Reel Two. SureChem, which can be searched for structures or keywords, developed out of demand among drug discovery researchers for a full-text automated product: existing products were good, but not comprehensive, says Goncharoff. Patent databases contain over 16 million compound names and, Goncharoff adds, "customers wanted a product that could be used on their own data as well as on existing collections of patent data." SureChem Enterprise indexes and integrates companies' proprietary data on small molecules, allowing them to be run against world patent data. Antony Williams, vice president and chief science officer at ACD/Labs, says that even unambiguous names can cause conversion difficulties. "Our focus has always been on the quality of names and structures that we generate, so in this particular project, our intention was to make sure that we would produce the unambiguous structures." Williams says the collaboration will give ACD/Labs an opportunity to receive feedback on potential difficulties with converting challenging names. He acknowledges inherent imperfections, saying "we are probably the best at doing it today, and we are far from perfect." ACD/Labs and Reel Two expect to launch SureChem by early March, with the date dependent on how quickly 300 gigabytes of patent data can be processed, says Goncharoff. Portal launch will precede enterprise sales. Although Goncharoff sees SureChem Enterprise as a "top-tier solution" for big pharma because of its price point, both he and Williams see value in marketing the portal to other clients, including academic researchers and biotechs that work with small molecules. Reel Two had not finalized pricing at press time, but Goncharoff expects one-year, single-user portal subscriptions to cost around $3,600, with enterprise software running roughly $50,000 to $75,000 annually, including licensing of name-to-structure conversion software, such as ACD/Labs' Name to Structure. Thirty-day portal trials are also available, says Goncharoff. The collaboration itself arose after Reel Two heard positive feedback from customers about the precision of ACD/Labs' structure conversion tools. The companies have a straight licensing agreement for the Web site version of SureChem and will take enterprise software sales on a case-by-case basis because enterprise deals can be complicated. Combining two of the best approaches in the industry, says Williams, has resulted in a synergistic and smooth relationship. "If we see a success it will continue," he says. 
Code: E020705



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