Yesterday Chenomx announced the availability of version 4.6 of their flagship product "NMR Suite". I don't know if I can consider this product a true processing software, albeit the name. They appear very determined, however, and I believe that their NMR suite will eventually process spectra. I can't include it into my price comparison list because they don't publish the price. I believe a single licence is $35,000 (commercial) or $8,750 (academic). Just like ACDlabs, they come from Canada (the land of NMR software?) and have apparently materialized from nothing. Please don't say that ACDlabs is different because it's half Russian, because the name of Chenomx's representative is Alex Cherniavsky.
The whole official story is contained into a single page. In April 2004 "Varian, Inc. has made a strategic equity investment in Chenomx, Inc., a privately held company that is a leader in the rapidly growing field of metabolic profiling" which means:
- They were already the leaders of the field before having a single product.
- Varian smartly concluded that, if themselves were able to make money with VNMRJ, the software market is where you can become rich.
The next two titles try to catch my eyes with "$18m Genome Canada Grant" and "$2.6m Magnetic Resonance Diagnostics Centre". You know, if you have a grant you can't use freeware nor shareware, you have to spend it all. Under such pressure, the quality of what you buy is not relevant.
Fast forward to one year ago, when NMR Suite finally appears, with version 4.0. The leader of the market can't start from 1, like you and me, he starts directly from 4. We arrive in April when, take a long breath, "Chenomx, Inc., a leading provider of software and compound libraries used to identify and quantify metabolites in NMR spectra, and Umetrics AB, a worldwide leader in multivariate analysis and modeling software, are pleased to announce a partnership to provide a comprehensive metabolomics solution to researchers worldwide". Anybody can be a leader, that's the beauty of the web.
In June we saw version 4.5 and, yesterday, the revolutionary 4.6, which: can now import raw Bruker spectra (what have you been doing up to now?), and will now look and feel more like a native Windows application (sorry you have renounced to your minimalist look, it was your ace in the hole).
I have downloaded and tried the previous version (4.5). For simplicity I limited myself to open the only example included. It was terribly out-of-phase. Though I have matured a decennial experience in phasing with 8 different programs, I could not correct it neither manually nor automatically. The slider reached the end of the run and there was nothing else to do but to ask for help, via e-mail, to Chenomx itself:
"Just one question. I have found a single sample file and I wasn't able to correct the phase. What's the value for the first order phase correction?" And I expected a numerical value. Remember that it was their spectrum, not mine! They replied that the answer is inside the tutorial. It was not, but the picture was clear: they are not ready yet. Maybe in 2007.