by Daria Thorp, Ph.D., CEO, ACD/Labs
When Malta announced the Nomad Residence permit for international visitors who work remotely and have income from another country this past fall, I thought to myself, “should I be working from Malta?” Can I? Can you?
Traditionally, chemistry is a very hands-on discipline. While it is unlikely that you or I will be taking Malta up on their offer—let’s think about the implications of overall industry change that we have observed in the past two years.
When I joined the company in 2001, ACD/Labs was already painting a vision of remote analytical data interpretation—decoupled from acquisition console, and without paper—imagine that! 20 years later, digital transformation is finally afoot, in a way that makes it practical to productively work outside the lab’s walls while being connected to work processes, in real time. At least for a while…
One of the examples that I can point to is the Scientific Data Cloud by Pfizer—discussed here, if you wish to know how such analytical-data-enabled digital knowledge assets can be employed to boost productivity and innovation. Certainly, such transformative efforts are no small feat—they require concerted efforts by a large cross-section of stakeholders to ensure success.
In 2021, we at ACD/Labs have made another step forward—enabling digital evolution by releasing Spectrus JS™, our first browser-based data processing application for instrumental analytical chemistry data, starting with NMR. Now, not only is the data electronically marshalled from the instrument to another computer, but it is also detached from the physical lab space!
We have also helped our customers implement a wide range of automation solutions that facilitate the processing of a multitude of data types, from a variety of originating formats, automatically; with or without computer assisted verification, confirmation, and supporting alert and report preparation!
Such capability makes me think that the daydream of working in Malta is indeed a little more realistic—for at least the rain and snow seasons! Or perhaps for just couple of weeks at a time, maybe!?
On a serious note, our accomplishments in 2021 and plans for 2022 have been shaped by the post-pandemic digital transformation of our customers. In the near future, we aim to bring to market more modern online processing software, and more flexible automation solutions. AI-driven protocols, when paired with Spectrus® knowledge management that our customers already possess or are building, give further insights into processes, chemical behaviors, and equipment use. The resounding popularity of our new informatics workflow-centric solutions—such as Katalyst D2D®, Luminata®, and MetaSense®—among our long-standing customers have confirmed that we have been developing software that matches their ever-changing needs. This is the most rewarding confirmation any innovative product maker can ever receive!
Outside analytical chemistry, we are proud to mention our IUPAC Nomenclature team’s 12th year of consulting for the European Directorate-General Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD). This collaborative project involves the collection of chemical names from various sources and development of procedures for translation of English chemical names into all languages of the EU, for the design and continuous enhancement of the EC TAXUD’s European Customs Inventory of Chemical Substances.
Also of interest in 2021 was the resurgent popularity of Percepta®—our PhysChem, ADMET, modeling, and ML toolset. It has been increasingly deployed in support of on-site as well as virtual biotechnology screening efforts and startups, many working on promising virology research and new modality (e.g., mRNA) delivery systems.
Not many of our industry customers publish peer reviewed publications about their work, but academic customers do. My colleagues have searched and collected some of the papers that reference our products—it is an amazingly diverse read! Have a look here.
I am truly thankful to our users who collaborate with us on a daily basis, providing their advisory guidance on the evolving landscape of chemistry-driven industries. I am tremendously thankful to my colleagues, and our collaborators, who take these ideas and suggestions and embody them into useful practical software applications! Wishing all of you strong health and success in 2022!