This week, Spotfire will launch a new version of its DecisionSite analytical software, which the company said was designed to address a broader swath of the drug discovery and development pipeline, as well as larger deployments within the pharmaceutical industry.
Tobias Lehtipalo, marketing manager for Spotfire, said that the new release, version 8.1, includes a number of features of interest to a broader scope of users in drug discovery.
DecisionSite is a staple for gene expression analysis in many labs, but Lehtipalo said that the company is seeing accelerated uptake well beyond gene expression analysis — in high-throughput screening, ADME/tox studies, clinical trials, and even sales and marketing.
In addition, he said, the company’s software is being deployed across larger user groups.
“We are increasingly seeing enterprise-wide deals being made in big pharma,” Lehtipalo said — a trend that drove the company to “adapt DecisionSite from being a tool for a handful of users to hundreds and even thousands of users.”
A key improvement to address this trend, he said, is in the DecisionSite Posters — a feature that allows users to share analytic results over the web. The upgrade includes new features to assist collaborations within an organization or between a biotech and a pharmaceutical company, for example.
With the new version of Posters, researchers can share results with their colleagues in a form that will enable them to visualize and explore the data, even if they don’t have DecisionSite themselves.
New capabilities in what Lehtipalo described as a “big overhaul” of Posters include a zoom capability, as well as heat maps, bar charts, pie charts, and other visualization features.
Researchers can take advantage of the Posters to interact with data generated by their colleagues, and possibly generate new insights, Lehtipalo said. “If they see something interesting, they can mark it and write back to the database,” he said.
DecisionSite 8.1 also offers a curve-fitting visualization feature that allows users to view multiple curve-fits at once — a feature expected to appeal to researchers in high-throughput screening — as well as improved heat maps.
Lehtipalo said that the usability of the software has also been improved to appeal to non-expert users.
Bill Ladd, vice president of discovery systems at Spotfire customer Genstruct, said that the software’s ease of use has indeed improved, and is much more suited to novice users than it had been in the past.
Ladd, who served as senior director of analytic applications at Spotfire before joining Genstruct, said that Spotfire “filled a lot of gaps” in DecisionSite with the current release. Some features, like the heat map improvements, “have been needed for a while,” he said.
Genstruct has about 20 employees, and half of them use DecisionSite for a range of applications, Ladd said.
“It’s the only [software] product we buy,” he said.