A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:

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What: Advanced Clinical Software, Seattle

Who: Bruce Schatzman, 50, president

Mission: Provide software tools to smaller pharmaceutical companies to make the clinical-research process more efficient and less costly.

Faster, better: Drug development can take 10 years and cost billions, and even then approval is not guaranteed. Large pharmaceutical companies can afford complex, expensive software, but smaller firms use time-honored paper-based tracking and manual data entry. StudyManager, a Web-based program, allows remote entry and instant data analysis, decreasing time and cost.

Client base: Schatzman estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 small companies make up ACS’s customer base. If saving money and increasing efficiency for these clients isn’t enough, there is also the notion that shortening the time in which drugs are brought to market has the potential to save lives.

Input, output: Bypassing paper-based systems can decrease human error. “With manual data entry, everything is on scraps of paper, and it can take weeks to get any results,” Schatzman said. “With our system, we can analyze the data as soon as it is entered, regardless of location.”

Employees: 25

Financials: Schatzman said the company has “never taken a penny of outside money.” It has been profitable for nine of its 12 years of existence, he said. Clients can buy the software outright and host it on their own server, or they can pay a “rental” fee and contract server access from ACS. “We allow companies to participate in the development process, even if they don’t have a half-million dollars to spend on a software program,” he said.

Home-field advantage: Aside from helping to bring drugs to market more democratically, the company thinks it is making a local contribution. “The whole Seattle biotech community is set to grow at a rapid rate,” Schatzman said. “We really want to be a part of that whole boom.”

On the Web: www.clinicalsoftware.net

— Charles Bermant