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‘Mainlining’ research content to scientists
June 2012
by David Hutton  |  Email the author


LONDON—With a goal of transforming how researchers access curated biological content and apply it to their research workflows, IDBS has taken the wraps off of a partnership with the Property & Science Division of Thomson Reuters.  
Under this partnership, the companies are integrating their technologies through IDBS' ScienceLink scientific content brokerage platform, enabling researchers to access scientific content from Thomson Reuters Integrity, combined with the delivery methods of the Cortellis Targets API from within E-WorkBook Suite.  
ScienceLink, a feature of IDBS' E-WorkBook enterprise ELN, allows customers to launch a single query to search and retrieve data from internal systems and from leading licensed external scientific data sources. With the integration, research teams can now search literature and curated sources via the Cortellis for Informatics Targets API directly within E-WorkBook.  
Chris Molloy, vice president of corporate development at IDBS, says the recent release of the Cortellis platform provides easier access to a wide range of content.  
"This relationship—which we have been building for some time—provides scientists with the ability to access a rich new ecosystem of high-quality information when and where they need it to make more informed decisions," he says.  
According to Molloy, the focus of the collaboration is to enable scientists to access the broadest range of Thomson Reuters' information through the electronic lab notebook (ELN), which is at the heart of a modern scientist's workflow. IDBS and Thomson Reuters have already made available a range of biology-focused, target-based information and are expanding this to a wide range of data across the Thomson Reuters portfolio.  
Molloy notes that "mainlining" research content to scientists is analogous to "always-on" internet.   "Look at the difference that has made to the use of data," he explains. "Forming new ideas and turning those ideas into products are what R&D is about. Even 'Eureka' moments need the right environment to occur," he says. "Enabling easy access to relevant—and available—information is a critical part of that environment."  
Molloy says the partners will continue to work on expanding the data sources that E-WorkBook can see.  
"We will continue to prioritize content where we see unmet need, but also listen closely to our customers for how they wish to best use this combination of internal and external content," he says.  
In transforming how researchers access curated biological content and apply it to their workflow, Molloy says the scientific process begins by addressing facts already known—"yet these facts are often hard to find and siloed, making the task harder than it needs to be, particularly in today's data-rich age," he says. "For many years, chemists have benefited from access to online data, and this is a natural part of their workflow. Access to rich biology content levels the playing field and enables biologists to build better hypotheses, avoid rework and save time. In a short period, this functionality will be not just commonplace, but expected by every biologist."  
The combined solution will accelerate biological research in areas such as target identification and validation, experimental pharmacology, toxicology and biomarker discovery.  
"Biology is an important research area for our customers, and we are working to gather and deliver the highest quality and most relevant scientific content across the R&D lifecycle to help organizations speed innovation and deliver actionable insights and results," explains Joseph F. Donahue, senior vice president of global sales at Thomson Reuters.  
According to Neil Kipling, founder and CEO of IDBS, partnering with Thomson Reuters will streamline advanced biological research for customers.  
"It is crucial for researchers to have a solid knowledge base of the results of previous studies in order to direct future investigations," he says. "Previously, scientists would need to search in various systems and collate data manually. Now they can access insightful data at the right point in their research, presenting considerable savings in time and effort."
The collaborators are already able to see success in the conversations with their customers, who are engaged and excited by the prospect of getting more from their data.  
"They are also pleased that their strategic IT partners are thinking of their issues and coming to them with innovation," Molloy concludes. "It's a very different relationship from that of a simple IT or ELN vendor. In the longer term, both Thomson Reuters and IDBS will see commercial return in the expansion of the use of curated content and E-WorkBook, which is very much a tool for positive change in R&D organizations."

IDBS extends partnership with ChemAxon to boost ELN Parallel Synthesis capabilities  
LONDON—IDBS also announced April 25 that it will extend a partnership with cheminformatics software developer ChemAxon to add new functionality to its ChemBook electronic laboratory notebook (ELN).
  ChemBook is part of IDBS' E-WorkBook Suite, a science-neutral ELN used across enterprises from basic research through to manufacturing.  
IDBS has added ChemAxon's Reactor engine, known as the Parallel Synthesis add- on, to support the workflows of chemists, synthesizing libraries of compounds in a parallel fashion. Reactor is a high-performance library enumeration engine that produces synthetically relevant virtual libraries. Chemists can define a generic reaction or a set of reactant structures and combine the two to enumerate and iteratively tune a set of product compounds and discrete reactions on a high-throughput scale.   According to the companies, this process removes tedious recording and drawing-out of chemical reactions multiple times.  
"Intelligent and flexible enumeration of chemical reactions for compound library design and combinatorial chemistry is an essential capability within an ELN environment. In choosing our Reactor, IDBS is bringing leading-edge performance and usability to ChemBook clients," said Alex Drijver, CEO of ChemAxon, in a statement. "We look forward to bringing more functionality and performance as we continue to expand our relationship with IDBS."
Code: E061210



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