Dotmatics starts up mobile strategy with iPad app

With plans to appeal to a new generation of scientists, U.K.-based R&D software firm Dotmatics has launched a free iPad app. The app is a chemical-structure editor optimized for the popular tablet. And though the app costs zilch, the company expects that putting its technology in the hands of scientists for free will pay off down the road, Stephen Gallagher, director and CEO of Dotmatics, explains to FierceBiotechIT.

Elemental, the company's iPad app, became available on May 7, Gallagher says. The app offers the ability visualize, sketch and alter chemical structures. Designed to operate with the tablet device's touch screen, the app enables users to build complex compounds and move around the atoms and elements that appear on the screen. Less than a month since the app launched, there have been more than 1,000 downloads of the software, he says.

The development of the app at Dotmatics reflects demand for R&D software that people can use on any computing platform they like. Like companies in other industries have done, Dotmatics has chosen the iPad as the first tablet for which to release a mobile app. And, also similar to other companies' mobile app strategies, Dotmatics hopes that users will eventually adopt the group's paid software, Gallagher says.

"The majority of products we sell are web-based tools," says Gallagher, whose company provides software to more than half of the world's largest biopharma groups. "So you can already access those tools from an iPad or an iPhone. And we've got customers telling us that [they] need software that is available from every single platform."

The company, which has offices in the Boston area and San Diego, aims to develop additional iPad apps as more of its customers adopt the tablet, Gallagher says. The next one could be an iPad app version of the company's electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) software, he adds. "Going forward, it's going to be a big part" of our product-development strategy.

Founded in 2005 with technology developed at Merck ($MRK), Dotmatics has been growing rapidly as more science-based businesses in pharma and other industries adopt the company's web-based tools, which require less internal IT management than software that customers operate on their own servers.  

- here's more info on the app

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