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Building an R&D chemical registration system

Abstract

Small molecule chemistry is of central importance to a number of R&D companies in diverse areas such as the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food flavoring, and cosmeceutical industries. In order to store and manage thousands of chemical compounds in such an environment, we have built a state-of-the-art master chemical database with unique structure identifiers. Here, we present the concept and methodology we used to build the system that we call the Unique Compound Database (UCD). In the UCD, each molecule is registered only once (uniqueness), structures with alternative representations are entered in a uniform way (normalization), and the chemical structure drawings are recognizable to chemists and to a cartridge. In brief, structural molecules are entered as neutral entities which can be associated with a salt. The salts are listed in a dictionary and bound to the molecule with the appropriate stoichiometric coefficient in an entity called “substance”. The substances are associated with batches. Once a molecule is registered, some properties (e.g., ADMET prediction, IUPAC name, chemical properties) are calculated automatically. The UCD has both automated and manual data controls. Moreover, the UCD concept enables the management of user errors in the structure entry by reassigning or archiving the batches. It also allows updating of the records to include newly discovered properties of individual structures. As our research spans a wide variety of scientific fields, the database enables registration of mixtures of compounds, enantiomers, tautomers, and compounds with unknown stereochemistries.