by Daria Thorp, President
As 2018 comes to a close and we approach a milestone year for ACD/Labs—2019 will be our 25th year in business—I reflect on the vigorous path of innovation ACD/Labs has taken in the last few years. For a business to remain relevant and vibrant, particularly in the science and technology sector, addressing the current needs of our customers, and most importantly anticipating those that lie ahead, is vital.
Focus on New Product Introductions
The last few years have seen increased pressure on our customers in Pharmaceutical and Biotech organizations from regulatory agencies to show that they are designing processes and workflows to ensure safety and quality. The term Quality-by-Design (QbD) is now ubiquitous, particularly in pharmaceutical product development. The drive to ensure the integrity of data and increasing externalization have led to organizations seeking better ways to share and manage their data. The variety of analytical data formats and techniques bring their own particular challenges that ACD/Labs is uniquely positioned to help with.
To my delight, our recent product introductions have resonated positively with both existing customers and scientists new to ACD/Labs technologies. With a focus on lifecycle management and product development, the introduction of Luminata in the Fall of 2016 saw an enthusiastic response in pharmaceutical development and interest has ramped up throughout 2018. Luminata helps pharma companies develop and support their impurity control strategies. The same challenge exists in other chemical industries where product lifecycle management is also a key aspect of their business.
MetaSense, now in its third version, continues to engage those working in DMPK and metabolite identification. Scientists are eager to ease the identification of metabolites, connect live analytical data with structures, and create biotransformation maps that can be easily shared with colleagues.
In 2019, we will continue working on product development and lifecycle control workflows with particular focus on the unique challenges faced by those working in high throughput chemistry and route optimization. To throw in a few hints: watch for our announcements about our “Design to Decide” DOE optimization workflows, and other solutions that will give our customers ‘data on demand’ functionality to better serve their changing technology environments and evolving ways of work.
Emphasis on Technology Innovations
When I have mentioned to people outside our business that we are celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2019, a handful have made brief facial expressions wondering if our technology is also a vintage… Oh no, it is not! We have been working hard to stay abreast of technological evolution. Some of the results from this work are to be showcased this coming year.
For example, our physicochemical property prediction software—a foundational cornerstone of ACD/Labs’ original product portfolio that is still considered the industry standard—has undergone a technological make-over. The thousands of users of these products should keep their ears open for an announcement in early 2019. This is just one of the exciting announcements planned for our silver anniversary, so stay tuned!
Over the past 3-4 years, we have expanded our development team to support these technology innovation efforts. In close alignment, the professional services and solution delivery teams have been full to capacity setting up customer sites with specially configured deployments to support their workflows and integration/customization projects. Our customer industries are increasingly focused on data digitization, analytics, compatibility, integrity, and security; and towards greater knowledge sharing and data reuse. In this light we have long viewed our ability to provide quality bespoke services, in addition to our portfolio of software tools, a priority.
Remembering Where We Came From
As we remain a dedicated software company under stable independent ownership, we are very proud and committed to our desktop product portfolio that we have been developing for over two decades. The relationships we have built with our customers and partners are very important to us. Many have been, and continue to be, active contributors to product enhancements. Looking at our most recent release (version 2018.1) many new tools and functionality adjustments were requested by users of the software—user defined reactions in MetaSense; the new streamlined workflow and expanded reporting capabilities in AutoChrom; more flexible peak integration capabilities for chromatograms; massive further developments in Luminata; and improved MS tree control, to name a few.
In 2019, we have chosen the following motto for this milestone year: Connect—Align—Learn.
In the coming year, we aim to connect more with our customers to better understand their changing requirements. As we build new solutions, we are mindful to align them with our products that are already on the market, and enhance those products. We are also aiming to serve new groups of customers, within pharma and chemical R&D, to ensure that the knowledge amassed by one group within the organization is effortlessly transferred and shared through other teams, units, and/or geographic locations. We have seen many cases when, through these connections, our customer organizations were able to work more effectively, to reduce their FDA review time and effort, or cost-effectively optimize product development. We have lots to learn about our customers, and lots to teach them about our useful capabilities and functionality, new and old, alike. Knowledge sharing inside and outside of ACD/Labs is our priority for 2019.
In 2019, we will look inward to share the experiences and memories of our long-serving employees, analyze how we can improve our business further, and simply get together to celebrate. With 180+ employees supporting customers from 11 countries around the globe, we will Connect—Align—Learn from each other, and get some of that all-important face-time. If you’d like to follow our escapades, follow us on Twitter (@ACDLabs)—we’ll be using the hashtag #ACDLabs25
Last but not least, we would not be here without our customers, partners, and collaborators. Thank you for welcoming us to your pursuit of improving lives and furthering our understanding of the world through scientific research.
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season, and looking forward to working with you in the New Year.
Have any ACD/Labs stories of your own to share? We’d be delighted to hear them—post them in the comments section below.