One Project Team’s Evolution from Excel Spreadsheets to CDD Vault
Dale Cameron, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry
Design and development of new drugs is a difficult endeavor. Small companies can spend a large amount of time just managing data and communicating results, let alone on scientific innovation and finding new candidates for development. viDA Therapeutics was one such company, and their use of Excel files to track their important chemistry and biology data lacked transparency, control and efficiency. By implementing CDD Vault, they achieved better control of data, vastly improved collaboration, and the ability to track diverse data types (chemistry, biology, pharmacology, structural biology/X-ray, patents, etc.).
Before CDD Vault
"Cumbersome, prone to errors, and no real way to know what had been done."
Before CDD Vault, scientists at viDA Therapeutics pasted screening data into Excel spreadsheets with chemical names and smiles strings. Using a freeware CDK toolkit, they were able to visualize chemical structures within the spreadsheet, but it was restricted to Windows PC users only (excluding their remote Mac/Linux users). Chirality and depictions were handled so poorly it was tough to perform SAR or even comprehend the data. Curve fitting was accomplished in another third party program with many error-prone manual steps. And of course, as a free-form collection of ad hoc spreadsheets, it was difficult to search and perform even basic analyses. They even stored their project summary information in a PowerPoint SAR document they passed around, making management and synchronization a real challenge.
Experienced staff at viDA knew that using a database would solve these problems. Unfortunately the legacy systems available were too expensive to buy and required too much resource to implement, train, and manage. And open source solutions were too immature and similarly would have required a dedicated IT person. Then viDA heard about CDD Vault, a hosted solution that is commercial quality, yet affordable and doesn’t require IT expertise or hardware investment.
CDD Vault enabled
"Shortened design cycles and gained advantage over competitors."
viDA Therapeutics began using CDD Vault in 2013. As a hosted solution, it was up and running immediately (no installation required, no IT staff needed). It was so easy to use that it took just one week to migrate their existing data and one month to complete training of their chemists and biologists to proficiency (both with standard support from CDD staff). They have enjoyed the benefits of a unified system and the cost savings of zero footprint ever since.
For each compound, they store the chemical structure, lot information, calculated properties, purity, and NMR spectra. For each assay, they capture all of the dose response parameter data and curves, as well as automatically calculated results like pIC50 and specificity. All this data is fully searchable, securely archived, and available from anywhere via any modern web browser.
Their analysis calculations are now automated by CDD Vault and viDA scientists save hours which were traditionally spent manually transferring, graphing, calculating, and summarizing. Scientists at viDA can immediately see which experiments have been completed for a compound and what still remains to be done. Standard “saved searches” allow scientists to share compound hit lists with project team members. This makes it easy to operate efficiently as a team, collaborating in real-time to identify and prioritize which compounds should move thru their four primary screens, saving time and money.
Benefits viDA derived
Scientists at viDA Therapeutics now spend their time moving their research projects forward, rather than manually manipulating and formatting data and spreadsheets. They enumerate some of the most compelling benefits of using CDD Vault here -
- Gained an additional >30 days/year of scientific productivity when considering everything from automated data processing to error identification to communication of results.
- Control of vocabulary results in fewer errors and less ‘lost’ data.
- Standardized assay analysis gives them better control over error tracking and makes it easy to compare results across assays.
- Standard saved searches and full access to curves results in more consistent communication and greater transparency across the project team.
- Hosted software makes it easy to access from anywhere (e.g. remote collaborators, for real time presentation during a meeting).
- Complete tracking of lot information and analytical data from CROs enable ‘collaboration at its best.
- Avoided spending 1 FTE on IT expertise for activities such as maintenance, security, troubleshooting, and system updates.
Learn more about CDD Vault’s chemical registration, structure-activity relationship and collaborative data management capabilities. If you’re interested in learning about how it can help you in your research needs, write to us at [email protected]