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Dotmatics hosts a hugely successful 2021 User Symposium

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We’re celebrating another fantastic virtual User Symposium in 2021. Our customers made the most of the opportunity to get updates from application scientists and support staff, and learn how others are using the Dotmatics platform to accelerate their R&D. Talk recordings and breakout sessions are available via the portal until November 12th in case you missed any during the live stream.

Steve Gallagher opened the event by introducing customers to Mike McKee. Mike has taken over the helm as President and CEO allowing Steve to take on a new role as Chief Strategy Officer with his eye on the future and the continued success of Dotmatics and the Insightful Science group.

Mike commented, “I think our future is bright provided we continue to get great input from our customers. One of our mantras is that our software is built by scientists for scientists, so we’re focused on recruiting scientists with experience in the field so they can understand and help overcome the challenges that customers face.”

We had five customer presentations across the two days from Novo Nordisk, Croda, Takeda, Casma Therapeutics and LifeArc. Here are some highlights from their enlightening talks:

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Novo Nordisk | Tenna Juul Schrøder, IT-Program Director and Simon Holbek Kønigsfeldt, Senior Research Scientist & Product Owner

Tenna discussed the need to update a system for capturing structured data in research. Novo Nordisk were among the earliest companies to adopt ELNs and although the current system is still in use after 20 years it doesn’t have the capability to meet the company’s strategic needs.

Tenna emphasized the importance of user input in gaining engagement – crucial when dealing with 1500 scientists working on 4000 experiments per year. The need for a single interface to access structured data came out as a clear requirement – delivering federated searching across the existing ELN and the new Dotmatics ELN. Tenna highlighted how foundational ontologies are to the project: ensuring data is entered in a structured manner means scientists can then access high quality structured data across teams.

Simon then walked through some examples of how Novo Nordisk is using the Dotmatics platform to provide users with one application for everything. These included embedding other applications into Browser, establishing an intuitive workflow out of Browser and cross-linking between applications.

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Croda | Aitziber Viadas, Subject Matter Expert, SME

Aitziber introduced  the buyer’s journey of a knowledge management platform for research & innovation.

Croda is a global organization using smart science to help customers in consumer care, life sciences and performance technologies. A culture of innovation is nurtured at Croda with 45 customer innovation centers and over 100 open innovation projects with 500 partners.

Faced with the challenge of how to derive value from the knowledge and information in their data, Aitzi and her team envision a user-friendly, single point of reference for capturing, accessing and sharing the wide variety of data, information and know-how generated across all markets and regions in R&T. Croda is involving key stakeholders, and managing expectations with a clear communications plan and roadmap. Aitzi discussed the vendor selection process and explained how, once the main requirements were satisfied, the final choice was influenced by good engagement and cultural fit. Aitzi and her team also saw the Dotmatics platform’s flexibility and data integration capabilities as key to Croda’s vision.

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Takeda | Csilla Csank, Head of Biology and Chemistry Capabilities and Products

Csilla gave a great overview of the exciting Takeda project to consolidate a fragmented site-based ELN landscape that had come about through company acquisitions including Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Nycomed and most recently Shire Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest mergers in the industry. In addition to consolidating multiple instances of ELNs from a variety of vendors, by moving to a SaaS cloud-based system, Takeda was able to consolidate disparate data centers and move away from on-premise systems.

Csilla shared the Takeda vision of their new global ELN as a cloud-based platform that facilitates R&D collaboration and protects IP. Csilla explained the importance of Dotmatics chemistry expertise, platform approach and assay capability in their vendor selection process. The Q&A highlighted how impressed other customers were regarding the short implementation timeframe which Csilla put down to moving to a SaaS product and working with a great team!

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Casma Therapeutics | Jarrod Medeiros, Sr. Director, Informatics and IT

Jarrod planned the informatics strategy around Casma’s scientific data management upon joining the company in 2018 and brought in the Dotmatics system about 2 years ago. Jarrod gave some background on the Dotmatics deployment at Casma which is primarily based around Browser and uses Studies for the ELN which went live during COVID lockdown in 2020.

The current project ‘A Blueprint for self-service drug discovery data analysis’ uses Browser and Blueprint for SAR analysis and visualization, and enhances access to Casma’s screening data. The goal is to provide self-service data access for Casma scientists across separate ELN, registration and assay data systems. Jarrod wanted researchers to become ‘citizen data scientists’ and be able to access any data set they want and then carry out analyses without having to do any data cleaning. So far, the project has been well-received, and the collaboration benefits are popular as medicinal chemists are sharing workspaces for shared analyses.

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Casma Therapeutics | Jarrod Medeiros, Sr. Director, Informatics and IT

Jarrod planned the informatics strategy around Casma’s scientific data management upon joining the company in 2018 and brought in the Dotmatics system about 2 years ago. Jarrod gave some background on the Dotmatics deployment at Casma which is primarily based around Browser and uses Studies for the ELN which went live during COVID lockdown in 2020.

The current project ‘A Blueprint for self-service drug discovery data analysis’ uses Browser and Blueprint for SAR analysis and visualization, and enhances access to Casma’s screening data. The goal is to provide self-service data access for Casma scientists across separate ELN, registration and assay data systems. Jarrod wanted researchers to become ‘citizen data scientists’ and be able to access any data set they want and then carry out analyses without having to do any data cleaning. So far, the project has been well-received, and the collaboration benefits are popular as medicinal chemists are sharing workspaces for shared analyses.

Following the customer presentations, Michael Swartz, who joined Dotmatics recently from Perkin Elmer as our Senior Vice President Enterprise Product, and Matt Burnett, our CTO, gave a Product Strategy presentation, which proved very popular as they discussed opportunities available today to make customers experience of using Dotmatics software better, some near-term plans to make it easier to get tailored configurations delivered, and important elements of the future strategy such as the next generation of Browser. Michael extended an offer to customers to work together with Dotmatics, commenting Together we can make the future come faster, better, and with less risk and expense. We’re excited to deliver a new kind of software, software that runs with you and your ideas!”

Other highlights from the Dotmatics team included a presentation from Dan Ormsby, who explored Adventures in AI and emphasized the importance of feature engineering. Initially he worked with customers on small molecules, but is now moving into chemical reaction tagging, and libraries of peptides and short proteins. If a customer is data-rich, I’d love to speak to them right now because you need the data to build the models and test the methods. To really get into other domains, it’s about how much data the algorithm can touch.”

Customers were eager to hear CEO of Insightful Science, Thomas Swalla’s Future Vision: The Best of Both Worlds: Connecting Best-of-Breed End-User Applications with Dotmatics Workflows (GraphPad Prism, Geneious, and SnapGene). Mirroring customers enthusiasm for our recently combined company Andrew LeBeau Associate Vice President for Biologics, commented, “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Dotmatics to provide end users, even more complete and capable software systems.”

We also enjoyed Product Roadmap sessions across both days, which covered Lab Informatics, applications used in the make and test portions of the research cycle, and Data Intelligence, for applications used during the design portion of the research cycle.

We hope you enjoyed attending the 2021 Dotmatics User Symposium as much as we enjoyed hosting it. The success is primarily due to enthusiastic participation, from both attendees and speakers, and we were fortunate to have thoughtful and engaging presentations from our guests along with an abundance of questions from customers.

We’ve begun planning for next year and are hopeful that the global situation will allow us to host a combined in-person and streamed event resulting in the best of both!