Name: RealInterface

Location: Annapolis. The company is part of the Chesapeake Innovation Center.

Funding: Company raised $50,000 from the Maryland Technology Development Corp., part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Big idea: RealInterface makes software applications for the clinical trials and homeland security markets. InClinix, its clinical trial product, determines which patients meet the complex requirements for specific research trials. InClinix "puts all of that difficult-to-remember information on the network so the researcher can tell right away if the patient will qualify," said Tom McCollum, vice president of sales and marketing. The company's second product, ThreatScreen, helps first responders rapidly evaluate whether a person has been exposed to chemical, biological or nuclear agents by matching patient symptoms with diagnostics for weapons of mass destruction.

How it works: For InClinix, researchers enter the requirements for their clinical studies into the system, which generates a simple questionnaire for patients to fill out. For ThreatScreen, first responders access information through hand-held electronic devices such as Palms or Pocket PCs. Emergency medical technicians answer simple questions such as "Are the eyes dilated?" to match a patient's symptoms with agents that could cause them.

Big-name customers: The company has a three-year, $1.4 million contract with the state of Mississippi to provide ThreatScreen. Johns Hopkins University Hospital, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and major pharmaceutical companies use the company's InClinix program.

Price: InClinix contracts average $175,000 for a single clinical study. The price of ThreatScreen depends on the number of users and can range from $300,000 to $400,000.

Founded: 2003

Who's in charge: Christopher Sleat, founder and chief executive; McCollum; and Mary Betty, vice president of operations.

Employees: 11

Web sites: www.realinterface.com, www.inclinix.com, www.threatscreen.com.

What the name means: "It comes down to a person being able to use a handheld or Web device in such a way that they're really connecting with information," McCollum explained. "It's the difference between data and information. That's the interface we're trying to get to."

-- Andrea Caumont

RealInterface's Tom McCollum, left, and Christopher Sleat offer two software products: one for clinical health researchers and one for first responders.