Friday, August 3, 2012

Product review: Chirys Draw

An isomer of thioridazine, drawn with Chirys Draw

I don't plan on doing product reviews, but this is such an irresistable mix of #chemjobs, alternative careers and software development (really!)

I've had the opportunity to review with a really neat app called Chirys Draw; it's from Integrated Chemistry Design, a company started by a former coworker of mine, M. Catherine Johnson. Before she started her own consulting firm and software design company, she was a long-time medicinal chemist and chemical informatics expert at Pfizer. Catherine offered me the opportunity to play with the program, if I could find an iPad to download it and try it out.*

With complimentary download code and borrowed iPad in hand, I was able to play around with the software for an hour or two. After watching the YouTube tutorial and a little bit of messing around, I was quickly drawing structures. It's a lot of fun to be able to draw with a touch of the finger. Drawing cyclic structures just takes a circular motion with a finger; aromatic structures take two fingers, something that I think it's both intuitive and really cool. There's a "Sprout" feature that allows you to easily extend chains off a selected carbon; interestingly, it allows you to extend chains off two atoms (or more?) at a time, which makes drawing symmetrical molecules that much faster.

Echinopine A
I've shown some of the molecules that I was able to draw with ease. Obviously, both pharmaceutically-related molecules and natural products are both within reach of Chirys Draw. Elapsed time for drawing both molecules? Less than 2 minutes each. Moving the molecules are a simple matter of highlighting and dragging. Having grown up with CambridgeSoft's ChemDraw, I do miss the "clean" function. Even without it, the molecules look pretty darn good on the screen.

If you're an iPad user, you can generate a little bit of jealousy (from me, anyway) by just pulling it out of your bag or briefcase. Now with Chirys Draw, you can impress your coworkers and make them just a little bit greener with envy.

Best wishes to Catherine and her company! To download Chirys Draw for both the iPhone and the iPad, visit the App Store. ($)

*I have to take a moment to confess that I'm not an iPhone user/owner, nor an iPad user/owner. However, just about everyone around me is, so I've gotten fairly familiar with their use. (I like to borrow neat gadgets -- thanks to those who know who they are.) 

**I selected the molecules by going to In the Pipeline and BRSM blog and picking the first reasonable molecule that I came across. All errors in structures are mine. 

Note: Other than free download codes for coworkers' iPads (for the review process), Chemjobber has received and will receive no financial incentive for writing this review.

Obligatory Nanoputian


  1. Can you open/edit *.cdx?
    Embed into presentations?
    Where's android version?

  2. I'm glad you could manage to do it. I have trouble drawing fused rings as well as a few other items.
    But I suppose it's quite good when you get used to it.
    No Android version, only for iPhone/pad.

  3. Somedude,

    -- Chirys Draw does not read CDX files at this time. It does, however, read MOL/SDF files that can be exported from ChemDraw and other applications.

    -- You can paste your drawings from Chirys Draw directly into Keynote or Pages on the iPad. For presentations on Windows or Macintosh, you can save a picture that easily embeds into Powerpoint or Keynote. In the next version of Chirys Draw, due out in about a month, it saves a vector-based PDF file that enlarges cleanly as much as needed.

    -- We continue to watch the distribution of Android tablets for an eventual port.

    John Clark, Ph.D.

  4. Quintus,

    Fused rings are exceptionally important in organic structures, and in Chirys Draw are very easy to draw. For a structure such as decalin, draw the first ring with a circle gesture anywhere on the display surface. Then, to add the second ring, tap to select one of the ring bonds, and make another circle gesture, again, anywhere on the display surface.

    Of course, for different sized rings, select a number on the wheel for the desired ring size.

    For other drawing problems, write a message on our contact page at or send an email to

    John Clark, Ph.D.

  5. Having written my own chemistry drawing algorithm (not commercially available nor will it ever be since I lost the code), You guys have a very long way to go. The handling of the junction between an up bond and a single bond, for example. Also, the trimming of up and down bonds near specified atoms. Admittedly, mine didn't do so well figuring out the length ratio for down bonds, and couldn't handle a disubstituted nitrogen where the H goes UNDER/Above the N instead of to the left/right