This week Dotmatics announced the availability of the latest version of Vortex, version 2019.4, which continues our focus on supporting biologics discovery.
Vortex already has very extensive analysis and visualization capabilities for chemical investigation, and over the last 3+ years we have supplemented these with support for working with biological sequences. This work reflects the growing importance not only of “natural” biologic therapeutic types, but also of the rapidly emerging field of engineered biologics – that is, therapeutic types based on biologic entities but which have been artificially engineered for desirable properties. This ever-expanding class includes bi- and tri-specific antibodies, FC fusion proteins, antibody-drug conjugates, peptide-drug conjugates and various forms of small peptides, including stapled and cyclic peptides.
Supporting these diverse therapeutic types imposes significant requirements on informatics software, in general, and data analysis and visualization applications in particular. As the worlds of chemistry and biology move inexorably closer together, the ability of an application to be fluent in both becomes paramount. In 2018 we saw a significant uptick in the interest in HELM, and requests from our users to support it, as well as associated depictions of small peptides with modified residues. The current release of Vortex meets most of these needs, with others to be supported in the future as specific requirements get clarified in this rapidly evolving field.
One thing that Dotmatics has always been known for is our philosophy of providing users with the information they need to make informed decisions. Initially this focused on aggregating and presenting data from across relational databases, where the bulk of information existed, albeit it siloed and difficult to access. But over time, unstructured and online data sources have become increasingly important in providing this comprehensive view, and to this end, the new version of Vortex adds capabilities around accessing and displaying annotation information for sequences. As more data are accessible, the richness of annotations increases, and displaying them effectively without them overlapping and becoming unreadable becomes critical. The new release of Vortex handles this with grace, in both linear and circular sequence representations.