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Origenis – Mestrelab Press Release, worldwide distribution
Munich, Germany – 13 April 2015 – The Spanish scientific software company Mestrelab Research SL and the German Biotechnology company Origenis GmbH announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to jointly develop a set of physic-chemical property prediction plugins for Mestrelab’s software products, which Mestrelab will be responsible for marketing.
The collaboration agreement has been signed following successful proof of concept integration and therefore the path to get these tools to market is expected to be short. The new partners plan to release in excess of 25 different atomic and molecular properties as part of this joint development effort. The collaboration aims to exploit the combination of Mestrelab’s large user base and track record of developing highly popular and widely adopted scientific software tools and of Origenis’ know how and excellence in drug design and in the use of LINGO methods to predict structural properties.
Santi Dominguez, CEO of Mestrelab, commented on the announcement:
‘We are hugely excited by this collaboration. Physico-chemical property prediction is a widely used tool in our current markets, and this has to date been a gap in our product offering. Origenis’ technology in this area is outstanding, and after extensive evaluation we are hugely impressed by its speed and accuracy. This collaboration will allow us not only to fill that gap, but to become the supplier of first-in-class tools for these applications to our growing customer base. The range of properties Origenis can provide is also very exciting, as it will result in our getting to market not only a very high quality but also a very widely applicable set of tools.
We expect to make these predictions available in our current Mnova platform, as well as in our about to be released mobile device, web and SaaS offering. 2015 is going to be our biggest year ever from the perspective of new products, and this collaboration is one of the most exciting opportunities I feel we have. And we expect to get to market rapidly with these tools, with the first set of plugins available no later than Q3.’
Michael Thormann, Managing Director of Origenis, commented:
‘We are very proud to expand our collaboration with Mestrelab. We join our efforts to integrate Origenis’ physico-chemical property predictions, which have a long successful internal track record, into Mestrelab’s excellent scientific software products. Our range of valuable physico-chemical property prediction tools will now be part of their user-friendly and broadly used Mnova software suite. With Mestrelab’s large user base in over 100 countries precise property prediction will then be available worldwide for scientists in Academia, Biotech, and Pharma.’
Download the pdf of the release here.
Octopus – “pulpo” in Galician – is a favourite dish in Galicia, the home of Mestrelab. If you were fortunate to come to SMASH 2013, you would surely have tasted this local delicacy. The secret to cooking pulpo is to get it soft and flavoursome – not chewy. This can be done done, and there are hundreds of family recipes that prescribe how to get it “just right” – all closely guarded, of course: it’s not trivial.
The new generation of bench-top NMR spectrometers (1) promise to herald a new era of precise food analysis. Researchers have shown how these instruments can be used to show horse meat adulteration of beef (2), olive oil adulteration (3), and what’s really in those herbal supplements “for men only” (4). But in Northern Spain, nothing touches a nerve like cooking perfectly the humble octopus!
We were therefore overjoyed to receive a call from one of our small-magnet collaborators with an eye to using our new mixtures analysis product, SMA, to assist with a new project.
The data still need validation, but it appears that there is substantial promise for this hardware-software combination to take the guess-work out of cooking pulpo!
With substantial IP at stake it is not possible to reveal much detail, but that will follow. Briefly, the NMR spectra of the cooking juices clearly show the sugar profile with respect to constituents and polymerisation, and a careful study has resulted in the discovery of the exact profile that indicates soft, perfectly-cooked pulpo. Researchers believe that this scientific approach will be infallible, and a major advance on approaches based on colour and onions – current best practice.
With tapas-style cooking all the rage in trendy bars and dinner parties around the world, there is little surprise that several television “shopping channels” have shown considerable interest.
“We can speculate dieters and healthy eating fanatics using bench-top NMR coupled with Mnova/SMA in ever-increasing numbers”, a famous TV chef, HB, speculated.
We will reveal more on this exciting topic when the IP is in place. Finally, we have not ruled out the possibility of a bespoke instrument just to do this analysis. The name has not been agreed on, but “Perfect Pulpo” has been mooted. The days of “misinformation” recipes (5) must be numbered!
(2) Jakes, W., Gerdova, a., Defernez, M., Watson, a. D., McCallum, C., Limer, E., … Kemsley, E. K. (2015). Authentication of beef versus horse meat using 60MHz 1H NMR spectroscopy. Food Chemistry, 175, 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.11.110
Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World. Christopher Columbus
With Mestrelab celebrating its 10th birthday, now seems an excellent time to reflect on how it all began. It’s a fascinating insight, described by the man with the initial vision: Prof. Javier Sardina of the University of Santiago de Compostela. I am sure that you will enjoy his retrospective as much as I did. Thanks Javier! Here’s to another exciting 10 years! Mike
Anger, family ties, and a very small and crowded organic synthesis lab: what do they have in common? Combined in the right proportions at a fortuitous point in time and space, and the result was the planting of the seed that much later grew into MESTRELAB RESEARCH.
It was the year 1995, the spatial coordinates were those of the department of Organic Chemistry, at the University of Santiago de Compostela (at the time you would have had to use a physical map to find it. GPS and Google maps were still far off in the future), the anger was mine, and I shall tell you about family ties in a minute.
I was a relatively young associate professor then, ready and willing to give you my opinion about anything under the Sun, even if you didn’t ask for it. Yes, I was opinionated, and very passionately so. All Spaniards are, in case that you haven’t noticed. (Of course you have noticed, this is a trait very hard to miss if you have met even just one of our breed.) The only difference was that I was always right, just like the rest of my countrymen and women! So I had an opinion on off-line NMR processing software as well. And now we get to the part where I tell you about why I became very angry.
WARNING: you are now entering into politically correct territory because I have to talk about the then top of the line off-line NMR data processing software, brought to us by a well known NMR instrument manufacturer.
WARNING: we are now back to our normal, politically incorrect space-time continuum. I hope that you have enjoyed your time away from the real World. I thought that program was t***h (read as painfully complicated to use), overp****d and overprot****d (remember the goddam dongle?) – and this made me very angry.
I shall not go into details, but you get the picture, and if you have been in this business long enough, you know exactly about what I am talking about. I was angry and frustrated because I could not get my hands on a piece of friendly software to process my NMR FIDs in my computer, so what? This is usually the stuff that makes physicians treating gastric ulcers make their livelihoods. But not this time, due to three so completely unrelated circumstances that it is hard to believe that Destiny did not take a hand.
First, I learnt about Giuseppe Balacco’s SwaNMR program for the Mac. Remember that this was happening at a time before Google was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye, so this was a major strike of luck. Giuseppe was working at Menarini at the time, and the company let him work on his NMR data processing program and also give it away. (I have always wondered what he actually did at Menarini to justify getting his paychecks!) But they didn’t let him set up a website to distribute it, so getting SwaNMR was a nightmare. You had to write him a letter that he could show to his bosses. An e-mail message would not do. Then he would mail a floppy disk with the program to you. Just imagine what it would take to get frequent program updates! I was only the 11th person to go through that ordeal, but it was well worth it. SwaNMR was fantastic – much better than its commercial competitor (which shall not be named).
I felt obliged by Giuseppe’s generosity towards the NMR community, and I offered him to host his program at one of our University’s servers so people could easily download it without the hassles associated with snail-mail (how many of you remember this term? That just shows your age) delivery of floppy disks. He accepted and we quickly became e-mail friends and collaborators. But he wouldn’t hear of my suggestion of porting SwaNMR to Windows. He thought that Windows 3.1 was a derailed attempt to replicate the very elegant Mac OS to those unreliable Intel-hearted machines, and that he would stick to his beloved Mac with its blindingly fast math co-processor. Can you blame him?
Second, a very young graduate student, fresh from a stay at Leicester University, came to my office to ask for help in transforming (pun intended) the experimental research he did there into an M. Sc. thesis at our University. The fellow was Carlos Cobas, whom you know very well by now. You would have had no problem recognizing him back then. He was the same somewhat shy, wide-eyed, easy-going, fun-loving, very optimistic fellow that he still is. So I became Carlos’ tutor and helped him write his masters thesis and get his degree. And that was the end of my involvement in his career, I thought.
Silly me: little did I know that friendships developed before I was born were going to prevent that from happening. In case you were wondering, this is the part where I tell you about family ties. One evening at home, my late elder brother asked me, in a rather roundabout way – the trademark of Galicians, the peculiar Spanish tribe to which I belong – if I knew a certain guy named Cobas. My early warning system (the one that I use to detect if I am about to be asked for a favour or to do a chore) was evidently off that day, because I answered with a candid “yes, I do”. Then he proceeded to lecture me about how our late father and Carlos’ father had been friends for a long time.
By that time I had realized that all hope of bailing out of whatever my brother was going to ask of me was lost. So he duly proceeded to inform me that Carlos wanted to get a Ph. D. and that he had decided that I should be his advisor. In Galicia, once the families get involved, you had better comply with their “suggestions” or else – usually a very cold and painful “else”. So I did the only thing that I could to avoid shame to my family and unending coldness and pain for me: I said “of course, no problem”.
Third. This is the part where I tell you that my very small lab was overpopulated at that time. How is this relevant to this tale? Very much so, because I did not have lab space to house a single additional Ph. D. student. And yet I absolutely needed to give Carlos a research project for his Ph. D. And he would expect to be provided with the resources to carry it out. So what was I to do? At this point I have to come clean with you and confess that, fully at that time and partly still today, I was your typical, run of the mill, garden variety synthetic organic chemist. So available lab space was a sine-qua-non requirement to undertake any research project in my group, and I didn’t have any.
Well, this is that fortuitous point in time and space that I told you about at the beginning of this blog. Family ties and a very small and crowded lab had already joined forces and played their parts to put me in a tight spot. By now most of you, intelligent readers, will have guessed that anger (together with my admired Giuseppe Balacco) was going to provide the key to finding a way out of that conundrum.
What do you do when you don’t have lab space available but you still want to do research (in Chemistry, that is)? You turn computational, of course. Or, in our case, to writing scientific software.
Computers are cheap, they can be housed in a very small space, and they consume almost no resources, except creativity. And Carlos had that in spades. I was naive enough to believe that we could easily write something on a par with SwaNMR but for PCs, and that we would be dammed if we could not do a better job than our commercial competitors, those that shall not be named. Thus, out of anger, family ties and lack of lab space the research topic for Carlos’ Ph. D. thesis came to be chosen. So much for strategic planning.
I still remember the first day I plugged the FFT code from Numerical Recipes into the very first DOS version of MestReC and saw the first FT spectrum. After that, it was updated to Win3.1 (16 bits), and a few days later to Win95 where it became the first NMR software for Win32. Carlos Cobas, President, Mestrelab Research
Guess what? Despite the fact that our previous experience writing software was as close to absolute zero as you can get (you probably didn’t know that), we actually did a decent job of it. But that is another story. Actually, it is the beginning of the MestRe-C story. But what I intended today was to tell you only about how the seed of what eventually grew into MESTRELAB RESEARCH was planted. I hope that I delivered on that intention.
F. Javier Sardina
Co-founder of MESTRELAB RESEARCH